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The original item was published from 5/31/2017 2:18:41 PM to 6/17/2017 12:00:01 AM.
Posted on: May 31, 2017
[ARCHIVED] Fort Madison Police Chief Reminds Citizens to Follow City Ordinances
As spring turns to summer and schools end their academic year vacations begin to be planned by many. While we all want Fort Madison to be known as a welcoming and friendly community it can be difficult to present this image when residents may unintentionally not be aware of some of the City’s ordinances that are in place to improve the quality of life for those who live and visit here.
Parking: Chapter 9-7 of the City Ordinances of Fort Madison addresses parking within the City. This spring the City Council has made some changes to parking ordinances. The fine for most general parking violations has changed from $5.00 to $20.00. Fines will be remitted to the City and can be either mailed in or dropped off at City Hall. The fines for Handicap Accessible Parking and Fire Lane violations will remain the same.
Contrary to some the streets are not parking lots. They are intended for the free flow of traffic within the City. Many of the streets in the City were constructed when there were few cars and design standards were different. Many of the older streets do not have the proper road base to accommodate more cars or heavier vehicles. This causes undue damage to the streets. On narrow streets this could cause a delay in emergency vehicle response times if emergency vehicles cannot get down the street.
Current ordinance allows for vehicles to park for no more than 48 hours, sooner if the vehicle is determined to be a danger to the motoring public. The right side wheels of a vehicle cannot be further than 18” inches from the curb line (you can’t park facing the wrong direction), unlicensed or not running vehicles are also prohibited. Ordinance 9-7-16A also applies to boats/trailers, campers and motorhomes. If such violations are observed they could be subject to a parking ticket. There is an exception for recreational trailers which allows for the parking of a recreational trailer on the street for a period of not more than 8 hours for the loading and unloading of the trailer.
Loud Noise: City Ordinance7-2-21 and State Code 723.4 address disorderly conduct which can be defined as loud and raucous noise in the vicinity of a residence which causes the occupants unreasonable distress. This can include loud music, loud voices, partying, fireworks, and barking dogs. Violations can include a fine and in extreme cases arrest.
Animals: Chapter 7-5 address animals within the City primarily dogs and cats. All dogs and cats within the City must have a current rabies vaccination record as well as a City tag which must be renewed annually. Allowing a dog or cat to run at large is prohibited. Dogs that are deemed viscous are prohibited from being in the City. Animals that cause a bite must be quarantined for 14 days unless valid rabies vaccination can be proven. Pet owners are financially liable for any damage caused by their pets including property damage and medical bills. Residents are prohibited from possessing more than 4 cats and dogs at any one time. Residents are prohibited from abusing or neglecting animals as well. All of these prohibitions are punishable by a fine.
Tall Grass: Ordinance 7-4-2A states the person in in possession or control of any developed or undeveloped lots or property is responsible to keep the property free of weeds and tall grass. The grass is to be kept at less than 12” in height. Violations of this ordinance could be punishable by fine and the person in possession or control of the property could be liable for the costs to mow the grass.
Nuisance Properties: The owner or person in control of run down, dilapidated properties and properties with an accumulation of debris is responsible for the upkeep on such property, not the City. Properties that become a haven to vermin such as rats, mice, feral cats, and other such creatures or insects or properties that are so run down as to be uninhabitable are responsible to make the property safe at their expense. A person knowingly keeping such a property can be fined and assessed the costs for rendering such a property safe.
City staff has processes in place to address these issues. It is the goal of City staff for residents to voluntarily comply with City ordinances as part of their civic responsibility. Many of the issues can be addressed at the neighbor level. If residents get to know their neighbors and look out for each other and maybe help mow the lawn or move the snow and get to know their neighbors pets there would be no need for City staff to send notices or abate nuisances at the owner’s expense. Let’s make Fort Madison the friendly and welcoming community many of us know it to be.