Sundance Times - Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

Council discusses nuisance determinations


November 14, 2019

How do you determine when there’s a nuisance within the city? Council Member Jana McLean asked this question at last week’s meeting of the Sundance City Council with the hope of making sure that the city is treating every resident fairly.

It seems there are several nuisances around town, McLean said, but not all of them have been served a nuisance letter. She expressed her concern that the council is not being uniform in its treatment of potential nuisance properties.

City Attorney Mark Hughes explained there is a definition of a “nuisance” within the city’s ordinances, but that it is fairly broad. In the past, he said, if a council member thinks a nuisance exists, all council members have then been charged with looking at the property to ascertain its state and whether it fits that definition of a nuisance in some manner.

Council Member Callie Hilty added that it is usually complaints from residents that set the ball rolling on a nuisance. Hughes noted that, in some instances, Sundance’s fire chief has noticed a building that they believe should be declared a fire hazard.

Mayor Paul Brooks added his opinion that it is better for the city to stagger nuisance issues and handle two or three at one time, rather than all of them at once. The council has solved quite a few nuisance issues over the last six or seven years, he said, which he believes shows how much more smoothly they are being handled.

In the old days, he said, it was “virtually impossible” to get a nuisance resolved.

The council also discussed a specific nuisance that has been on its radar for the last few months: a messy property on Sewell Street. Describing the current situation as a “stalemate”, the mayor expressed his belief that it will never get cleaned up unless the city does the cleaning – and it’s not going to get cheaper to get that cleaning done.

“Progress comes at a price, folks,” he said. At the suggestion of Hughes, the council passed a motion to hire a building inspector to take a look at the property and provide a report on its condition and worth before making a decision regarding potential demolition.


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