County institutes stiffer fines for zoning violations

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Citing a current fine structure that is insufficient to ensure compliance, the Putnam County Plan Commission recently recommended a change to county zoning regulations.

Upon review of the recommendations, the Putnam County Commissioners approved the changes at their Monday evening meeting, passing the new ordinance 2-0.

The new regulations set the procedure and fine levels when County Planner Doug Ehmen determines a party is out of compliance with planning and zoning rules.

Previously, noncompliance was simply punishable with a $100 fine, a level County Attorney Jim Ensley cited Monday as not being much of a deterrent.

Under the new ordinance, the planner will first issue a warning to violators and establish a period of time to correct the issue. When the deadline is reached, the planner will issue a citation stating the fines for the violation.

Each separate offense will be subject to a fine from $100 to $2,500 per day from the day of compliance requested by the planner.

Additionally, any person who attempts to do work that requires a permit without first obtaining a permit may be required to pay three times the normal amount for the permit.

The new law also establishes the procedure for issuing warnings and fines, as well as the appeal process.

In any given case, the planner has the discretion to waive fines for the otherwise timely correction of a violation.

In other business:

* Treasurer Sharon Owens informed the commissioners of her intention to have a county certificate sale in February. The commissioners passed a resolution approving the sale, including payment for advertisement.

* Highway Supervisor Mike Ricketts said his department has been working on gravel roads with the weather having dried out recently, saying three graders and two maintainers were being utilized.

"I want people to know we are out there working," Ricketts said.

The commissioners next meet at 9 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 3.

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