The Turlock City Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to assess $13,113.32 in municipal code enforcement fees against a property located at 433 S. Laurel where city-required work was not completed, despite a 90-day extension.
“Quite frankly, I’m annoyed,” said Councilman Ted Howze. “We gave you guys a generous extension to get this work done, and all we’ve heard is complaints about the city.”
It was the second time the council had considered levying a fine on the property. On Aug. 10 the property owners – Irene and Kamal Bahadur of Modesto – were granted a 90-day extension on a then $5,653.10 fine for abatement costs related to improper plumbing, electrical work, and the unpermitted addition of two residential units, possibly performed by prior owners.
At that time, the Bahadurs claimed they were still working with the city to correct the issues, and that the fees should be waived. The council then gave the Bahadurs 60 days to complete all work needed to bring the parcel up to code.
In the past 90 days, the Bahadurs did complete all electrical work on the building, but did not apply for a permit to correct any other issues, including the garage converted into a living space, an unpermitted laundry room, and a lack of heating and air conditioning for the unit, due to the theft of the old HVAC unit.
On Tuesday, the Bahadurs said they believed they only had to complete electrical work within 90 days. They also said that work had been put on hold due to difficulties obtaining an insurance payment needed to pay for improvements.
“Now we have more excuses why the work hasn’t been completed,” Howze said.
The motion to assess the property passed 4-0, as Councilman Kurt Spycher did not attend the meeting. The fine will be collectable as property taxes.
On Tuesday the Turlock City Council also:
· Passed an ordinance creating Turlock’s first tow away zone along the west side of Johnson Road from Marshall to Merritt and on the north side of Meritt from Johnson to 145 feet west of Johnson from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays. The tow-away zone is intended to discourage on-street parking for the Turlock Flea Market, already banned in the area at the same times. The illegal parking creates traffic and safety concerns, especially when market goers illegally cross the street. The east side of Johnson Road is technically Stanislaus County property. The County Board of Supervisors will consider an agenda item to implement a tow-away zone on that side of the street at an upcoming meeting.
· Received notification from Deputy Development Services Director Debbie Whitmore that the City of Turlock will be awarded two grants to aid in sustainable city planning. The city will receive $200,000 in federal dollars and expects an additional $100,000 in state funds, expected to be awarded Dec. 3. The grants will be used to offset the costs of Turlock’s ongoing General Plan Update and downtown plan revision.
· Established liens on 20 properties for weed, obnoxious growth, and debris abatement costs. The liens total $11,855.41.
· Updated the City of Turlock’s Municipal Code to raise the penalty for parking and standing vehicle violations by $3, to comply with a new state law requiring a $3 per violation payment to the state.
· Received the 2009-2010 annual report on the Stanislaus County Library from County Librarian Vanessa Czopek.
· Heard public comment from Turlocker Donald Jeffries, who took issue with Councilwoman Mary Jackson’s decision to not attend a closed session employee performance review of City Manager Roy Wasden on Nov. 9, and to abstain from a review of City Attorney Phaedra Norton on June 22. Jeffries asked if Jackson’s conduct was against the code of conduct for council members, and what sort of repercussions she might face. The council did not respond to Jeffries’ comment, as they are not allowed to discuss items not on the agenda.
· Issued a proclamation in support of the 65th anniversary of the Assyrian American Civic Club of Turlock.
· Issued a proclamation recognizing Brent Bohlender for 22 years of service to the Parks, Recreation, and Community Commission. Bohlender reached term limits, and will leave the commission effective Jan. 1, 2011.
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