When Oil City Council opted last week to postpone a vote on a proposed “anti-clutter” ordinance, the primary reason apparently was the fact that the measure had not yet been made available for public review.
The decision came during a council meeting at which two Oil City residents challenged the proposal, alleging that council was creating the possibility of hardships for those who cannot afford major cleanup efforts, and even claiming that the panel would be “acting outside its authority” in instituting the ordinance and setting monetary penalties for violators. One of the speakers hinted that the statute is worded such that it could be enforced arbitrarily.
The city’s solicitor advised, however, that council would be acting within its power in establishing the ordinance.
At a May meeting, without public notice, council introduced the measure which would penalize city residents who leave items considered “junk,” “litter,” “debris” and “clutter” on their porches or patios, or on their lawns. The measure would also include restrictions on the storage of lumber and building materials, ban the outdoor use of items like mattresses and upholstered furniture, and would set a time limit on how long temporary coverings could be kept over building construction areas, such as roofs.
It is likely that council will again consider the measure at their next meeting on June 26.