To the editor:
Recently, I contacted the city manager and mayor about a house across the street from my home that was purchased by an investor two years ago. The investor turned it over to his college-aged son who quickly filled it with six college students. The neighborhood code enforcement manager at that time worked with the owner’s agent for several weeks to bring the occupancy of the house into compliance with the single-family dwelling zone that the house occupies.
That was last year. This fall semester brought another influx of six new resident college students, which has been verified by the code enforcer. When I asked this gentleman why the city was not doing something to eliminate this problem, he indicated that under the current ordinance there was little he could do. Both the city manager and mayor so stated as much.
So it appears that we have a law that does not work because there is no way to penalize willful lawbreakers. There have been numerous mentions in the newspaper lately of situations like the above.
I would encourage the City Commission to find an ordinance that works! We need one with real teeth, one that takes away the economic incentive for an unscrupulous landlord to want to break the law. How about a $500 per day fine for habitual offenders and/or 10 days in jail? If we don’t take a pro-active position to this problem, we are wasting our city’s staff time and facilitating the degradation of our neighborhoods.