Council hears code enforcement update

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — Sidney City Council heard an update on Sidney’s code enforcement regulations during its Monday evening meeting.

Sidney Code Enforcement Officer Arthur Franklin presented council with his first code enforcement review since taking the position last year. His report compared the years 2016 through 2020 as well as objectives for 2022.

Franklin shared the previously reported percentages for voluntary compliance of code violations from years 2016 through 2020. He said the goal is for voluntary compliance to continue to increase every year. The average voluntary compliance percent for years 2016 to 2019 is roughly 70%.

He reminded council members he became the city’s code enforcement officer in May 2020, and after getting a handle on things by September, ended 2020 with 67% voluntary compliance. Last year with Franklin’s work with the public, the number of property owners who corrected violations doubled, at 855 compared to 357 in 2019.

He explained the city’s notification process for dealing with violations and said he always will work with residents to get violations up to code. Franklin showed numerous before and after pictures of properties that were cleaned up. He spoke about and displayed pictures of one property over a three month period that was initially littered with junk and was cleaned up over several visits during which he encouraged the owner to continue working on the mess.

Franklin also showed several other before and after pictures of properties littered with junk, trash, old tires and abandoned or wrecked cars.

The amount of inspections the city conducted, his report showed, were much higher in 2020, at 3,225, compared to 1,944 inspections in 2019, 3,010 in 2018, 4,032 in 2017, and 3,175 in 2016.

The goal for 2022 is to have 90% of property owners in voluntary compliance with only 10% completed by contractors. Currently the city has 85% of voluntary compliance with 15% of the work being completed by contractors.

Franklin said city staff wants to begin to celebrate compliance rather than point out violations on social media, with the hope it will change things.

Also for 2022, to alleviate neighbor complaints, city staff wants to implement a program called “neighbors helping neighbors” to assist others who may not be compliant, Franklin said. He also plans to ask everyone, including council members, to participate in community clean up days to achieve these goals.

Council members collectively praised and thanked Franklin for his hard work.

During a call for public comments after the presentation and at the end of the council meeting, South Walnut Street residents Renee Young and Ricki Mooney spoke and asked for help with an issue of nine cars on their road owned by one neighbor, that prohibits other neighbors from parking near their homes. Most of those vehicles are inoperable, it was noted, but are pushed or pulled back and forth to avoid parking violations.

When asked about the restrictions on the number of vehicles allowed to be owned without a dealer license, Law Director Jeffery Amick said the subject is too difficult and there isn’t enough manpower to enforce city wide. After a brief discussion on the issue, City Manager Mark Cundiff said city staff will investigate options on the matter and will present them to City Council for consideration.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.