GLASGOW – The second meeting of the Barren County Fiscal Court Solid Waste and Emergency Management Committee at which several members of the community voiced concerns about the possible adoption of the International Property Maintenance Code for unincorporated portions of the county sounded a lot like the first one.
It had several of the same attendees, but the total number in the audience, at nearly three dozen, was more than double that of the Sept. 16 meeting. This one was very deliberately scheduled for an evening hour, 6 p.m., so more could be there, and it took place at the Barren County Extension Service to allow for that possibility, rather than at the Barren County Government Center.
The suggestion was made again that the three magistrates who constitute the committee be joined by and work with some of the individuals from the audience representing various parts of the county to hammer out an ordinance that could be more acceptable but still get the job done, but this time, Judge-Executive Micheal Hale named a person – Jody Hawks – that he wanted to lead the effort. At the end of the meeting, Hawks has started a list of names within each magisterial district as potential members of this working group.
Most all of the questions and comments were similar to the previous meeting, though, and the sentiment against adopting any year's version of the IPMC in its totality was still pervasive. The consensus still appeared to be that everyone wants the county to have options for cleaning up junky or otherwise unsightly properties, but with wariness over just how far a county official could go with telling them what they could do on their own properties. Concerns also were that once it was adopted, restrictions could get even tighter and that the persons doing the enforcing would change over time and powers could be abused.
One of the common themes from several voices was that if the county doesn't have the resources – or sometimes the will – to enforce the nuisance ordinance that's on the books now, it shouldn't be adding a bunch of new rules on top of those.
Mike Jones and Richard Wilson, for example, said he wants more enforcement of existing rules before new ones are created.
Magistrate Carl Dickerson, one of the committee members, said he believes they need put more teeth into the current ordinance with fines and such.
Jim Griffin, building and electrical inspector for both Glasgow and Barren County, said he can only inspect new property and can't go onto others unless he sees for himself an imminent life-threatening danger. He said the current ordinance, though, is inadequate and not easily enforceable.
He, and later County Attorney Kathryn Thomas, also emphasized that even when the ordinance is enforced, it's not an overnight process. Sometimes it can take months, as those accused do have due-process rights.
As some voiced that they did not want the code to be adopted and would rather Barren County write its own that fits here, Kevin Myatt, planning director for the Joint City-County Planning Commission of Barren County, said they would be reinventing the wheel to throw it out and start from scratch, and they could still use portions of the code and just delete the parts they don't want.
“Nobody's saying we're going to throw it out,” Hawks said. “We're going to use it as a blueprint.”