September 19, 2007 Edition

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Hoxie aldermen pass ordinances

Members of the Hoxie City Council passed two ordinances at their regular meeting on Sept. 11. One ordinance concerned the condemnation of hazardous property and the other addressed the care and keeping of dogs within the city limits.

Ordinance 2007-11, which authorizes the City of Hoxie to condemn unsafe buildings; provides a procedure for condemnation; requires property owners to keep their premises clear of litter, rubbish, garbage and other unsightly and unsanitary things; and declares penalties for violations of this ordinance, was passed unanimously.

The ordinance states that "an unsafe building or structure is defined as one which is a hazard to public health and safety." It adds that the following factors may be taken into account as officials condemn properties:

Whether the building is occupied or unoccupied and how long it has been so; whether it has windows or whether they are broken out; whether it complies with state plumbing or electrical codes; whether the building appears to the average person to be rundown or dilapidated or the construction appears to have spontaneously crumbled or fallen apart; the existence of rats or other disease producing characteristics; and whether any part of it has burned and has not been repaired.

The ordinance also states that once the city determines that the building is unsafe, property owners will be notified and will have 30 days to correct the deficiencies. If action is not taken to correct the problems, another notice will be sent by certified mail after which the owner will have another 30 days to comply.

If no measures are taken, the city will be entitled to demolish the structure and hold a lien on the property to cover demolition expenses.

Another section of the ordinance addresses the unsightliness of properties. It reads: "all persons, corporations, organizations, partnerships or associations, are required and ordered to keep their premises or property free of garbage, rubbish, old vehicles and trailers, storage containers, old boats, old bicycles ... or any other things of like quality or kind which would constitute a health hazard or breeding place for mosquitoes or disease or which constitute a condition causing an unsightly appearance, whether or not it is in plain sight or otherwise, and whether or not such property or trash is located in a carport, porch or enclosed structure."

Anyone in violation of this section will be notified and will have 10 days from the date of the notice to correct the problem. If the property owner fails to comply, they will be charged with a misdemeanor and subject to a fine of up to $100 and/or no more than 10 days in jail.

Ordinance concerning dog laws

Ordinance 2007-10, which was also passed unanimously, amends Ordinance 1992-497, and clarifies the maximum number of dogs a person may own or keep within city limits.

It states that a person may not keep more than four dogs over the age of six months within the corporate limits of the city. This provision does not apply to animal care businesses that are properly registered and zoned.

Anyone who has more than four dogs over six-months-old will be in violation of this section and will be required to show proof that the animals are under the six-month limit.

A violation of this ordinance will be processed as a misdemeanor and will include a fine of no less than $50 and no more than $1,000, plus court costs and restitution.

In other business:

Hoxie supports Rails to Trails

In a special meeting held Sept. 4 the Hoxie City Council voted to support Lawrence County in an application for grant funding to the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department for the Rails to Trails project.

During the meeting Alderman Sherry Moore drew a map of the area in Hoxie that will be included in the project, and spoke about the town's opportunity for a beautification project.

Mayor Roberts reported that the city has already had problems with residents riding four-wheelers on the trail, and that citations will be given in the future.

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