Citizens express concerns at council meeting

By Staff, 03/21/17 11:11 AM

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PRESCOTT – It was “bash the council night” at the March meeting of the Prescott City Council Monday.

It began with the entire planning and zoning committee resigning after stating the council disregarded a decision it made, and ignored city ordinance in the process because members of the council, including the mayor, didn’t do their job and talk with members of the committee prior to a hearing.

City Attorney Glenn Vasser got in a shot saying he was concerned at the council’s lack of knowledge in the area of planning and zoning, including following procedures.

During the section of the meeting for community comments, Ron Glass said the council needs to do something more than show up once a month and collect a check. He returned to the topic of having a Trade Days in Prescott, saying he offered to buy a sign out of his own pocket.

He talked about picking up a shopper in Hot Springs, seeing an ad for Amity’s Trade Days and called to find out about it. He told the council vendors are charged $175 for four days for a covered spot and $150 for an open location, and Amity has around 100 vendors on hand along with around 5,000 visitors.

“Having 5,000 people here would change things,” he said. “We’re on the interstate. I’m ashamed of this city and how it looks. There’s been no planning and no homework done.”

Glass said Trade Days is a business and as such requires a business plan. He said having an event twice a year won work because outsiders need to be brought in from the interstate. He told the council it has a job to do and needs to be responsible, to do its homework and make calls about things like this.

Jamie Hillery, executive director of the Prescott-Nevada County Chamber of Commerce, responded inviting Glass to come by the Chamber to share his ideas, but added the proposed event is a start and an attempt was made to host a Trade Days. “I sent letters and emails to different vendors and only got one response, so we changed it to a garage sale and got a good response.”

From there the topic returned to zoning issues with Marcia Lasiter passing photos around of a junkyard inside the city limits. She said this was a concern before she was a member of the P&Z committee, and it’s only grown, with nothing done about it. “It’s grown like a cancer. If we let it continue, there’s no telling what it will do.”

Questions were raised as to why those who violate city ordinances aren’t fined and made to obey the law. Prescott Mayor Terry Oliver said, “It’s hard to write police and code enforcement tickets in this town.”

Meredith DeWoody, also a former member of the P&Z committee, said there are also laws on the books concerning the health and safety of the community that are being violated by this junkyard.

Vasser said the city needs to decide if it wants to enforce the ordinances or not, adding the fines can be up to $100 per day. He suggested the city start slow and follow through with the fines as the ordinances have been ignored for years.

Councilman Bobbie Brown asked why the city has a code enforcement officer if tickets aren’t going to be written.

Lauren Doucet, another former member of the P&Z committee, asked if it wouldn’t be possible for the code enforcement officer to present a monthly report to the council of her activities.

“People want to know they matter,” DeWoody said. “We need to look for solutions, not blame. Use the sources in place and let the residents know they matter.”


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