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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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City Of Peshtigo Considers Rental Property Registration/Inspection

The topic of Rental Property registration and inspections has been discussed several times the last couple of years, but never went anywhere. This time it may be different. The topic was again brought up at the Wednesday, Dec. 19 meeting of the City of Peshtigo’s Judiciary Committee and concrete steps were discussed to make it happen.

The City of Peshtigo book of ordinances does not currently require registration of rental properties. Nor does it include any mandates on inspection of domestic rental units. The members of the Committee were in agreement that some rental properties in the city were woefully under housing standards when it comes to safety and condition. But the question of how to make registration and inspection of rental a reality was the first step the committee felt they needed to address.

Committee Chairman Mary Lock suggested development of a rental regulation in conjunction with the city’s Building Inspector, borrowing liberally from what other cities are doing. The City Ordinances do list a “minimum basic standard” for residences, and that was generally viewed as a good place to start.

Any such rental regulation would also include language stating when or how frequent the inspections would take place. Ideas included whenever there was a new property owner, new renter, first time rental, and maybe even every four years. The Committee also agreed there would be no properties “grandfathered in,” and that all inspections would be at the expense of the property owner.

An initial step the city could take prior to work on a regulation would be establishment of a rental property registry.

While no action was taken on any of this at the Committee level this month, members were in agreement they would develop ideas for getting rentals registered and then would look at how and when to get the inspections done. The matter was placed again on the January agenda for discussion and development.

In other matters, the Committee discussed what appears to be a growing inadequacy of the current Book of Ordinances, published in 2009. A number of new or revised ordinances have been passed since the Book was published, and if someone is not aware of the changes, problems could arise.

The current Book of Ordinances is published by a for-profit company that has a copyright on the actual book, so the city probably cannot legally print a new book on its own or even an addendum booklet attached to the book.

Committee Chair Lock asked that no action be taken on this matter so that she could investigate further with the City Attorney on what can legally be done to publish the unpublished new/revised ordinances.

The Committee discussed the possibility of proceeding forward with action on refuse disposal and collections, including doing something with the waste dumpster at the city garage. City Engineer George Cowell gave the Committee a preview of some of the proposed fees, but insisted that the matter come before the Streets and Drainage Committee for approval before coming back to Judiciary to see if an updated or rewritten ordinance would be needed. The committee agreed and took no action.

Also discussed was the possibility of reviewing any or all of the parking ordinances within the city limits. Cowell noted that after the studying the matter briefly, he noticed there are several conflicts between what existing parking signs say and what the city ordinances list. He suggested trying to come up with a uniform parking regulation throughout the entire city.

The length of time that a vehicle is allowed to park was also discussed, with some committee members preferring One Hour and others Two Hours.

Other discussions turned toward items like restrictions for snow plowing, enforcement, vehicle towing, and accommodations for school events. Further discussion brought up the topic of parking restrictions in city-owned lot and what appears to be tenant vehicles being parked full time in the triangle lot across the street from City Hall.

Cowell urged the Committee to take no action on this matter so that he could study the issue and come up with recommendations. The Committee agreed.

The Committee went five for five in taking no action on agenda items on the possibility of proceeding with parking and speed limit changes to Maple Street, on the east side of the river. The matter was discussed because the city had talked about it prior to the start of the whole by-pass/street reconstruction project. The idea was that once the Jurisdictional Transfer of the old highway took place, the city would accommodate parking spaces on Maple Street between Beebe and Stephenson, and lower the speed limit from Stephenson to the bridge down to 25 mph.

The committee decided this matter had to come before the Streets and Drainage Committee before going back to Judiciary for ordinance work.

In a matter not on the agenda, the committee heard Cowell’s thoughts on erecting signs stating that there would be no parking on any city street during snow clean-up times, perhaps even listing dates and times during the entire winter. Cowell said he would possibly include the idea with the other parking ordinances changes.


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