09/20/12 — Nuisance violators could face penalties in Fremont

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Nuisance violators could face penalties in Fremont

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on September 20, 2012 1:46 PM

FREMONT -- The Fremont Town Board discussed making it easier for the town to crack down on habitual violators of its nuisance ordinance Tuesday night at Town Hall, as board members considered whether to strengthen the ordinance to keep pace with changes in state legislation.

Chronic violators who commit multiple nuisance violations, such as allowing the grass on their property to grow taller than 24 inches, could be fined or otherwise punished more easily than first-time offenders under a proposed ordinance.

The town board asked that the changes to the ordinance be drafted and presented at a future meeting for consideration.

Another ordinance amendment was considered Tuesday night, but the motion to approve it died for lack of a second.

That ordinance would have made it a violation to allow the accumulation of leaves, grass clippings or other debris on public property.

Board member Harold Cuddington made the motion to approve the ordinance amendment, even after board member Leon Mooring scoffed at making an ordinance concerning grass clippings.

The town board did approve several motions declaring surplus property after approving Wayne County's proposal to turn over jointly owned properties completely to the town. At the board's August meeting members asked what it would cost. The county had asked for Fremont to pay a portion of the attorney fees, which Town Administrator Kerry McDuffie revealed Tuesday would be about $1,300 plus a nominal fee to have the county's name removed from the titles.

The board voted to donate one of its 2004 Chevy Impala patrol cars to Charles B. Aycock High School for use in its mechanic program. The car's engine was blown and instructors said students would be able to take the car apart and put it back together in a practical application of mechanic skills.

The board declared more than 30 items as surplus to be sold at public auction along with selling the town's old water meters and equipment through a government website. It also moved to trade in old guns and ammunition from the police department to a gun shop for store credit.

Police Chief Paul Moats asked the board to consider applying for a Governor's Highway Safety Program grant that would allow the police department to acquire an equipment trailer that would assist with safety checkpoints in Fremont and the surrounding area. The cost of the equipment would be more than $15,360, but it would come at no cost to the town if the grant is received, Moats said.

The board approved pursuing the grant on 3-1 vote, with Annie Lewis dissenting.

Board members W.T. Smith and Al Lewis were absent from the meeting.

The board scheduled a public hearing for next month to discuss the allowance of food stands within residential areas, specifically allowing permanent utility hookups. The measure will be considered by the town's planning board before the hearing.

A motion to cut a tree near a power line died for lack of a second Tuesday night. The cost to the town would have been $2,700.

"I hope we don't regret that one," Mayor Darron Flowers said as the board turned to its next charge, a discussion of replacing its copper wires with aluminum to prevent further copper theft after thieves damaged wires recently. The sale of the copper would more than pay for the transition, McDuffie said.

Discussions of changes to rules concerning the town's cemetery were tabled until a future work session. And finally, the board approved a resolution supporting the county's pursuit of grant funding for a greenway system. A possible route of a greenway would run from Main Street Park through the Charles B. Aycock Birthplace and fork off toward Charles B. Aycock High and Norwayne Middle schools.