County commissioners hope to look at revised nuisance ordinance

File photo Curry County Commissioners are meeting at 1 p.m. today in the North Annex of the Clovis-Carver Library to discuss an ordinance aimed at health and safety issues in the county such as dilapidated or dangerous buildings, rubbish and disposal of animal carcasses.

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

Curry County Commissioners are holding a special meeting today to discuss a proposed ordinance aimed at cleaning up.

The meeting is 1 p.m. in the North Annex of the Clovis-Carver Library.

Commissioners say they hope to have a revised public nuisance ordinance — known as “An Ordinance Affecting General Public Health and Safety” — reintroduced within a month.

The ordinance has been in the works more than two years.

The ordinance has also proven controversial among county residents split between property rights and cleaning up the county.

The last attempt to consider the proposal on May 4 ended with commissioners tabling the matter for the special meeting.

The latest version drafted by the Land Use Committee was criticized by Commissioner Caleb Chandler for being vague and not enforceable.

Commissioners are calling the special meeting a “quasi-committee of the whole.”

Chairman Bobby Sandoval said the meeting won’t include an opportunity for public comment.

Chandler said the meeting is essentially an informal working committee of the entire commission that meets in public.

It is being held, “For the purpose of general discussion among the board so we can determine what it is we really want to accomplish and how we want to go about doing that,” he said Tuesday.

“Whether you’re for it, or against it, it needs to be right before it’s enacted,” Chandler said.

“It needs to be something that’s workable, enforceable and constitutional before it’s enacted.”

Chandler said the only vote that could result would be whether or not to recommend a resulting draft ordinance for the commission to consider.

If a draft is presented to commissioners, public notice must be published 14 days before it could be considered for enactment.

During the last commission meeting, Sandoval said he would like to see a revised draft of the ordinance before the commission within a month.

The current ordinance addresses issues including:

• Property conditions that harbor rodents and vermin or foster the breeding of mosquitos and other pests.

• Animal carcass disposal.

• Leaking septic tanks.

• Fire hazards.

• Visibility obstructions on roadways.

• Dangerous structures, rubbish and debris.

In a letter to commissioners for today’s meeting, Sheriff Matt Murray questioned enforcement.

Murray pointed to a portion of the ordinance stating a resident receiving notice to abate a violation can request a review of their case by a Land Use Review Committee.

Such a situation could lead to a deputy being expected to present a case against a resident to the review committee, Murray said.

“I will not subject any of my personnel for a non-judicial review before the ‘Land Use Review Committee,’” he wrote.

“I would appreciate the County Commission understanding my viewpoint on this issue and remembering that deputies are here to prosecute criminal matters.”

Murray is also asking if there will be any additional resources granted to his agency to take care of training, travel and per diem, and a full time employee for enforcement.