New code enforcers comes to town

John Scarffe, Nederland.   Two new personnel will enforce building and general codes for the Town of Nederland, the Nederland Board of Trustees learned during a regular meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17, at the Nederland Community Center. Michael Sizemore was introduced as the new building official, and Jennifer Nelson will be enforcing Town codes.


For the year-end building report, Town Administrator Alisha Reis said the Town will have new representation by the building inspector. “We have begun our building season and, as of Friday, [we will] begin code enforcement.”

Safebuilt provides inspection services for the Town, Reis said, and reports will now be made quarterly. Michael Sizemore, with Safebuilt, said he is in his third week in Nederland and his 31st year in building inspection, having worked in three states. “I hope that I can bring the experience that I’ve learned and be of value to your community.”

Jennifer Nelson will be replacing Sherry Snyder in code enforcement. Nelson said she has been in the area for about 20 years and will be working out of the Firestone Office. She has been involved in law enforcement for about 13 years, formerly working in animal control.

This is Nelson’s first try at code enforcement. She tries to make contact with everyone instead of sending them mail and has had good experiences so far.

Reis presented Snyder’s 2015 year-end code enforcement report as a part of the board’s packet. “Most residents that I have had contact with have been very receptive to code enforcement efforts and nearly all cases have been closed via voluntary compliance,” Snyder wrote.

Three cases have been referred to court this year. One case had two separate summons issued for the same violation due to a dismissal. One of the cases is still open and set for trial in January, and the other was settled via court ordered mediation, Snyder wrote.

Snyder sends a courtesy notice for compliance within ten days and a final notice for resolution giving five additional days. If the issue is not resolved after the final notice is issued, a summons is sent. “If a resident contacts me after receiving their notice letter to make arrangements in regards to the timeframe needed to bring the property into compliance I am always willing to work with them,” Snyder wrote.

Snyder’s primary focus for violations has been the prohibition of nuisances such as junk and refuse, public nuisance from marijuana establishments and cultivation in residential zones, as well as business zoning violations.

Reis told the board that 90 percent of the people they see resulting from the noxious weed plan comply after the first warning, and the town has nearly 100 percent compliance. The code program pointed out that the town does have a problem with unsuitable housing.

Trustee Topher Donahue asked if they can make complaints about marijuana odor go more smoothly. Reis replied that odor complaints need to be managed, because the town receives complaints about exhaust and roasting coffee. They are drafting a better odor code for the board to consider.

“Our contacts about marijuana odor went smoothly. We had one case of a landlord who didn’t want to deal with those issues and that came out poorly,” Reis said. “Most people don’t want to make their neighbors unhappy.”

Trustee Dallas Masters asked if a lot of the complaints are driven by neighbors. The junk thing is very subjective.

Nelson said she received an email message about a front yard that was full of garbage. The resident had a trailer full of garbage, and that can’t be there. He also had a shed which contained garbage, which is okay, but his garbage bags have to be contained.

Masters then asked if the Town has a limit on the number of accessory buildings on a lot. Reis said the town has a lot coverage limit, which is how they handle lot accessory issues. The downtown business district does not zone out accessory buildings, and camping is allowed.

The board can make those changes, and the Nederland Downtown Development Authority could do that, Reis said. A lot of research has already gone into this. The previous leadership on the board didn’t want to take up the camping issue, but it would be in the board’s purview to decide whether to take this up.

Mayor Kristopher Larsen said they should have the DDA board work on this, and the Trustees agreed. DDA Chair Katrina Harms said their board has already looked at existing codes for camping from other towns and looked at accessory buildings. “We’d love to take it on,” she said.

Paula Farrell applied for a Special Review Use Application related to an artisan gallery at 171 East Second Street. The 10,874-square-foot parcel contains the owner’s residence, which will also contain the proposed gallery, and a garage to be used as personal vehicle parking.

The zoning for this property is Neighborhood Commercial, so the proposed enclosed retail use is permitted as a Special Review Use. Farrell purchased the property in November 2015 and went before the Planning Commission on April 27, 2016. The Commission voted to unanimously approve the special review request with conditions.

Cynthia Bakke with the Nederland Planning and Zoning Department told the board that requirements of the district for indoor retail and all notifications have been taken care of.

Farrell has three lots on Second Street, and two parking spaces are required, Bakke said. Farrell can accommodate that, and her hours will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. She has complied with provisions for special use.

Farrell will have parking perpendicular to the house, and she will park in the parking garage. She has contained onsite parking on a concrete pad that will accommodate two to three cars, Bakke said. She didn’t anticipate having more than a few people at once.

Neighbors were all notified, and they have worked with NedPeds project representatives to be sure the parking would not impede pedestrians.

Trustee Julie Gustafson said, “I’m excited about your gallery and I wish you luck.”

The board unanimously approved the Special Review Use Application.

The next meeting of the Nederland Board of Trustees will be on Tuesday, June 7, at 7 p.m. at the Nederland Community Center.