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T. Falls council reviews noise, decay ordinances

 


On Monday, the Thompson Falls City Council passed a second reading of a proposed noise ordinance. The ordinance has been reviewed by community members and the council.

Residents at the meeting on Monday questioned enforcing the ordinance, and what types of noises constitute a disturbance, such as motorcycles going through town. Resident Tobo Leivestad also addressed the council about forming a quiet zone regarding the two railroad crossings in town. The council voted to table the railroad crossing matter and allow Mayor Mark Sheets to contact Montana Rail Link should he feel it is appropriate.

Also on Monday, the City Council moved the community decay ordinance back to committee to review language that residents felt was too vague.

The City Council has been working on the community decay issue for about six months. Community members Gunner and Beth Junge, Randy Roberts, Rusti and Tobo Leivestad and Ruth Cheney presented the council with a letter stated that they “have heard unending hypothetical excuses for why the city cannot enforce Ordinance 327 on community decay property owners. We have never heard the council express concern about the myriad of negative effects of community decay properties on the responsible property owner who is a credit to his/her neighborhood, and their community. Nor has the council expressed concern regarding the effects of community decay properties on the health and welfare of our community.”

Some residents at the council meeting on Monday expressed frustration with the process of amending the decay ordinance.

“There’s a degree of decency in how we treat our neighbors,” said Rusti Leivestad, noting how property owners who don’t take care of decay issues affect the property values of others.

The statement from the group of community members noted that properties on Church Street “remain unsightly, unsanitary and unsafe in spite of initial complaints logged as long as 26 months ago.”

The proposed community decay ordinance proposes enforcement by a committee of one citizen from each of the three wards, as well as two city council members.

The ordinance proposes a penalty for anyone found guilty of violating the ordinance of up to $500 in fines or imprisonment not to exceed six months.

The council will review further changes to the ordinance at a future meeting. In other business Monday, Mayor Sheets said that the city has to wait until next year to apply for a large grant for the wastewater treatment project. The city received a CDBG grant for the Ainsworth Field project. Ninety percent of that funding must be spent before the city can apply for that grant again. Sheets estimated that the wastewater treatment project would be pushed back about a year.

 

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