Thursday, January 29, 2004

Junk cars, blaring stereos to be cited by Fairfield cops

By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer

FAIRFIELD - Police soon will be getting tough on unlicensed and inoperable cars, noisy car stereos and loud truck brakes.

City Council has authorized police to assist city zoning inspectors in issuing warnings and citations to owners of junk or unlicensed cars. At the same time, the city will add a part-time zoning inspector to work evenings and weekends.

"There's no reason we can't use the police as an extra set of eyes and ears," said City Manager Art Pizzano.

If police see an auto without wheels or an engine in a driveway, they'll ask the owner to move it into a garage, said Police Chief Michael Dickey. "It would probably solve this type of problem rather quickly," he said.

Dickey also recommended to council that the city restriction on loud car stereos be revised to make it illegal for the amplified sound to be "plainly audible at a distance of 25 feet or more." The ordinance now sets the distance at 100 feet, making the law "almost impossible to enforce," Dickey said.

"If I can hear it three car lengths away, someone ought to be told to turn it down," Dickey said.

Warning signs

No change will be needed in city laws to ban loud mufflers or truck brakes, Dickey said.

He suggested that the city post signs warning motorists.

In the summer, police also will warn homeowners with abandoned pools where mosquitoes can breed.

"This is a chronic problem," said John Clemmons, city law director.

Having police immediately contact homeowners should resolve the problem faster than going through the zoning department's 90-day notification process for code violations, he said.

Council also told city staff to report in a month on how Fairfield could form a citizens' committee to recommend policies about storing boats, trailers and recreational vehicles.

Residents have been complaining about improper storage since fall.

"It's not fair to all the citizens ... to drag this out for six months," said Mayor Erick Cook.


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