Lexington town hall focuses on code enforcement responsibilities

WEKU | By Stu Johnson

Lexington residents are being given an opportunity to sound off with any concerns about code enforcement. The first of four town hall meetings took place Thursday night off Russell Cave Road.

The open mic program resulted in a variety of comments. Those included concerns about the heavy presence of code officers in one area and an intimidating appeals process. Debra Fraim said she has a house with a small garden in the front yard and has been told by Code stems are considered debris.

“Now there’s a movement among gardeners to shrink the lawn and this is an ecologically friendly thing. And you know, I think your neighbor ought to do what they want to do on their yard and let you do what you want on your yard,” said Fraim.

There were recommendations from citizens too, like rotating code enforcement from one council district to another and requiring building permits be posted on properties. Code Enforcement Director Lee Steele said visits are complaint-driven only.

“So, we get, on average 12 and a half thousand complaints a year and they’re three to one nuisance versus the housing. And nuisance complaints are primarily in this city grass and trash and possibly the weekend project car or just a car that’s been wrecked and left in the driveway,” said Steele

Saying there is some wriggle room, Steele said the code department strives to see the residents have the least impact. Second District Council Member Shayla Lynch said the aim is to gather comments and then set about making adjustments in code, if needed.

“Don’t have a strict timeline yet because we want to do the work right and do it well this time and so we don’t have to come back, Council has to address it, come back and make changes. So we’re going to take our time throughout the process. The process will be fully transparent,” said Lynch.

 A second town hall is scheduled for next Monday at six at St. Raphael Episcopal Church on Parkers Mill Road.

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Republished with permission. Photo by Stu Johnson.