The city council Monday scheduled August public hearings on proposals governing gasoline, nuisance properties, heavy vehicles and landscaping. At its Aug. 14 and 28 meetings, the council will make decisions on these proposed ordinances:
The council will hold a public hearing Aug. 28 on the Janesville Police Department’s recently proposed ordinance, which would encourage all gas stations in the city to require prepayment before motorists could pump gas.
Businesses could opt out of the requirement under the condition they would no longer be able to report gas thefts, Police Chief Dave Moore said.
The ordinance is a response to the 165 gas thefts police responded to during an 11-month period last year. Of those 165 cases, only 20 were intentional thefts, and only one thief was prosecuted, Moore said.Passing the ordinance would reduce police time and resources spent responding to gas thefts, he said.
Vacant, nuisance properties
City staff is proposing a new ordinance and changes to an existing one to combat vacant and nuisance properties in the city.
The new vacant building ordinance, which will get a public hearing Aug. 14, would require owners of abandoned commercial and residential properties to register them with the city. Registration would come with fees to encourage owners to either ready buildings for occupancy or sell them instead of letting them sit unused, according to a memo to the council.
The chronic nuisance property ordinance exists to deal with problematic properties in Janesville.
If a resident is arrested at a specific property or the city issues an order to correct problems, that’s considered an “action” against the property.
If four actions occur in a year, the property is considered a chronic nuisance. The property owner then is required to meet with city staff and form an abatement plan to fix the issues.
Changes to the ordinance would broaden the definition of a property nuisance violation and make it so certain activities such as homicide, unsafe burning, prohibited firearm possession and more count as actions.Other changes call for city staff to issue warnings when two actions occur and citing property owners who violate abatement plans, among others, according to a memo.
A proposed ordinance change to allow larger vehicles to park on residential streets also will get a public hearing Aug. 14.
The existing ordinance prohibits vehicles heavier than 8,000 pounds from parking on neighborhood streets. City staff proposed upping the limit to 12,000 pounds.Several vehicles that fit the aesthetic of a residential neighborhood, such as sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks, don’t violate the spirit of the existing ordinance but are technically prohibited from parking on streets because of their weight, as The Gazette previously reported.
Also Aug. 14, the city council will hold a public hearing on loosening the restrictions on residential gardening and landscaping. If approved by the council, changes to the ordinance would allow residents to plant vegetables on their front lawns and landscape their yards without prior city review.