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City Council Discusses Housing Ordinances

Jamestown City Council proposes housing ordinances that would help address the city’s problem with depreciating properties. The council heard comments and concerns from the public about the proposed ordinances. Council members William Reynolds, R-Ward 5, and Anthony Dolce, R-Ward 2 and council president, are pictured. P-J photo by Timothy Frudd

There won’t be any action on three proposed housing-related ordinances in July.

The Jamestown City Council discussed the ordinances, which include a rental inspection ordinance and public nuisance ordinance,during Monday’s meeting. The council’s Housing Committee meeting was well attended by city residents, with several expressing concerns about the city’s plan to implement three ordinances targeting landlords and their rental properties.

Members of the community asked the City Council to spend more time considering the potential impact of the proposals and to consider additional measures to hold tenants accountable in the same way the city is proposing to hold landlords responsible. Other members of the community warned of unintended consequences that could result from the ordinances.

Housing has been a consistent issue for some time in the city. Some areas of the city have lagging home values and high concentrations of the code violations cited by the city Development Department. While many residents, tenants and landlords maintain the value of their property, many houses in Jamestown remain in poor condition.

If passed, the City Council’s proposed ordinances are touted as ways to address housing disinvestment, but several landlords said the ordinances could create more problems for the city of Jamestown and for the city’s lack of housing.

After initial debate on the ordinances, they were tabled for further discussion.

City officials said a meeting is planned with the Real Estate Investors Association to discuss potential issues that could impact landlords and tenants if these proposed ordinances are adopted by the city.

First, the city discussed an ordinance that would establish Chapter 214 of Jamestown City Code, labeled, “Rental Inspection.”

The City Council also discussed an ordinance that would establish chapter 215 of Jamestown City Code, labeled, “Public Nuisances.”

Finally, the City Council discussed an ordinance that would establish Chapter 313 of Jamestown City Code, labeled, “Vacant Property Registration.”

Additionally, the City Council proposed a resolution, “Designating $100,000 in American Rescue Plan Act Healthy Neighborhoods funds for the purpose of funding a Zoning Code Update to be administered through the Jamestown Local Development Corporation (JLDC) by the Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency (JURA).

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