Beaver Dam Council Votes Down Property Maintenance Changes

(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam Common Council voted down wording changes to a pair of ordinances Monday night intended to address property care on residential and commercial properties. A proposal that would have required the removal of gravel surfaces on front lawns and cars to park perpendicular to the front of the home failed on a vote of five-to-eight with one abstention. City Building Inspector John Moosereiner conceded a observation from Alderman Kevin Burnett that a motorcycle parked sideways against a garage door in a driveway would be in violation if it were perpendicular to the front of the home. Two residents spoke against the parking changes while another nine spoke against the property maintenance changes. Moosereiner explained that much of the wording is already written in code and any update would have just closed loopholes to meet modern code wording.

City officials overwhelmingly voted down the property maintenance component which had one vote in favor. The council indicated support for changes that involve code compliance updates and public safety. That included wording that exterior walls, stairways, decks, porches, decorative features, awnings, fire escapes and fences must be structurally sound and “in good repair.” Officials were apprehensive about changes that addressed beautification. That includes wording that firewood should have to be stored in straight, orderly piles a minimum of three inches off the ground and not more than six feet in height and garage doors must function and be able to close “reasonably plumb.” The ordinance is being sent back to the Plan Commission to address the council’s concerns and is expected to be brought back with only the code compliance updates.

The council did approve stiffer penalties for non-compliance with only two dissenting votes. Zoning, junk and debris violations had already carried a $100 fee for re-inspection, but that fee will now compound every seven-to-ten days for those who do not work with the building inspector, capped at $400 for each re-inspection.