City Of Ste. Genevieve Officials Talk About How To Handle Nuisance Property

Two weeks after letting a twice-tabled bill restricting the number of vehicles allowed in residents’ yards die, the Ste. Genevieve Board of Aldermen last Thursday looked at the city’s current nuisance ordinance and how it can be used to eliminate problems in the city.

The impromptu discussion took place during city administrator Martin Toma’s regular report to the board.

Ward 4 Alderman Joe Prince brought up a conversation he had had with city prosecutor Jeremy Brauer.

“During the last situation, or the last ordinance, I had a conversation with our prosecutor, and he felt that the legislation we were proposing was unnecessary in that he was fully comfortable addressing these issues based off what we already have,” Prince said. “I understand the role of the city attorney is to protect us.”

He asked why the city was not bringing Brauer into the conversation.

“He feels our current ordinances are fine to deal with that situation,” Prince said. “I think he needs to be brought into the fold, to engage him. If he feels comfortable with it, why are we trying to reinvent the wheel?”

Ward 3 Alderman Jimmie Jones had a different take on the subject.

“We’ve had a lot of concerns, we’ve had a lot of people involved, and nobody has been able to take care of the problem,” Jones said.

Both addressed their remarks to city attorney Mark Bishop.

“I don’t know why everybody’s looking at and addressing me,” Bishop said, eliciting chuckles. “This is not my issue. I wouldn’t disagree with anything you’ve said, although I’ve not visited the property.”

A handful of properties in town have drawn complaints from neighbors. One property on Ninth Street, with about 10 cars, has been the biggest concern. Much discussion had taken place at past meetings about how the city’s current nuisance ordinance could or could not be applied to force the owner to clean up the property.

“Normally, our ordinances deal with inoperable vehicles,” Bishop said. “Where, if you have a licensed vehicle that is considered operable, it’s not going to be considered a nuisance under the city code.

“So, the question was, if you have somebody who has a whole lot of cars, can we address that? I think that’s what we looked at.”

See complete story in the July 31 edition of the Herald.

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