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Oct. 25, 2017 - Backyard mechanics have about two months to get inoperable cars fixed, screened or at least start working on them.
In response to public complaints, City Council tightened restrictions on junk cars in residential areas. The new rules, which go into effect Jan. 1, 2018, are more in line with neighboring jurisdictions.
The city's 311 staff tallied 442 complaints from citizens about junk cars in the past year. In addition, city inspectors generated almost another 1,000 notices of violations.
The amendments would largely require that inoperable vehicles be kept in an enclosed building. However, to accommodate backyard mechanics and car restoration buffs, residents are allowed to keep a vehicle being actively worked on, plus a second vehicle for parts, if they are shielded or screened from view.
Property maintenance supervisor Phil Russell noted that the city has some flexibility in working with people who call the office when they get a violation and explain their circumstances. People who are truly working toward a solution can get extra time, he said.
Other measures were approved that related to the purchase of the Boo Williams Sportsplex. One amended the capital budget and authorized a $9.25 million bond anticipation note; the other approves the agreement between the city and the Economic Development Authority, which will leasing the building to the non-profit Boo Williams Summer League. The league is expected to pay rent that will cover the bond payments without additional city money. The facility generates significant tourism and economic activity with tournaments throughout the year.
In other matters, Council: