Published On: Tue, Aug 20th, 2013

WSS property maintenance ordinance thrown out

By Peggy Mackenzie

Monday’s White Sulphur Springs city council meeting produced no action on a beleaguered measure to establish standards for property maintenance in the Spa City. Council member Bruce Bowling’s motion seeking to approve the International Maintenance Code (IMC) received no second and the motion died on the floor.
Numerous complaints from residents about the state of the town had persuaded council member Lynn Swann nearly a year ago to bring the IMC to the attention of the council as a way to curtail the negative effects on neighborhood property values and the city as a whole. The council’s previous efforts to deal with the “unkempt lawns, junked vehicles and dilapidated structures” throughout the city was to use ordinances already in place but which “had no teeth” or means of enforcement.
Yet month after month the council’s efforts to pass the IMC were cut short by citizen complaints about the impact it would have on residents, possibly due to the penalties for failure to comply which were clearly enforceable in the measure.
In an attempt at fine-tuning the proposed ordinance, a working session was called, but as Swann was quoted, the meeting only “yielded a list of complaints.”
At which point Swann said she realized “the maintenance code had become too divisive for a compromise to be struck,” as phrased in an article in the Register-Herald. Swann expressed hope that the council will follow through and focus on strengthening those other maintenance ordinances already in place.
“It’s just common courtesy,” Bowling said, for the city’s residents to keep up their property. “The Spa City residents can’t have it both ways.”