The Ottumwa Courier

August 24, 2013

Nuisance ordinance needs to be redrafted

Ottumwa Courier

---- — We are disappointed that the City Council removed the teeth from the “nuisance ordinance” and looked the other way rather than embracing an opportunity to move the city forward.

There remains one last opportunity for the council to do the right thing.

We encourage the council to vote the proposed ordinance down at the third consideration and begin redrafting an ordinance that works toward supporting property owners and organizations trying to change the image of Ottumwa.

The ordinance is not about an invasion of someone’s property rights; it is about protecting the property rights and values of owners and spurring economic growth and the beatification of our city.

Eyesores need to be removed and ordinances strictly enforced. Excuses regarding enforcement are that — excuses — and they keep Ottumwa from moving forward. Enforcement is not an issue for other cities and should not concern the council.

It is the city administrator’s job to support the council’s decisions and implement and enforce ordinances on the books.

Neighborhood eyesores impact our community in many ways by holding property values down and hindering economic development. The recruitment of professionals such as doctors, teachers, technicians and other jobs and services that Ottumwa so desperately needs are being lost to other, more progressive communities.

We have one chance to impress those touring our city and considering relocation or the establishment of their business here; clean neighborhoods and revitalizing downtown will be a must if we want those looking our city over to consider relocating their families and businesses here.

We have organizations working hard to change downtown and the surrounding areas.

Not having a strong and enforced nuisance ordinance flies in the face of the hard work they are doing. Main Street Ottumwa, Ottumwa Property and Redevelopment Company, Ottumwa Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Ottumwa Economic Development Corporation and other organizations are working hard to promote and revitalize our community.

It is time that the City Council gets on board and supports the efforts of these organizations rather than making their efforts more difficult.

The adage “there is no gain without pain” is true. Supporting a tougher nuisance ordinance is not an easy decision, but it is the right decision.

Not everyone will like cleaning up their property and renting space to store their boat, trailer, RV and such. It must be done. Continuing down the same path is no longer an option.

The revitalization of downtown is happening now.

The City Council needs to get on board or the alternative is to vote in a supportive and progressive council and mayor this November.

We strongly encourage the City Council to do the right thing and vote down the nuisance ordinance as written at the third consideration.