Ordinance Committee holds hearing, discusses changes

By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

The Bristol Ordinance Committee held a special meeting on Wednesday Aug. 21, that began with a hearing, and evolved into a discussion regarding ordinance violations and the process of collecting the fees associated with the violations.

In the city Code of Ordinance, section 17-18, “Use of Streets,” explicitly states that “no peddler, solicitor or canvasser shall have any exclusive right to any location in the public streets, nor shall be permitted a stationary location on Main Street, North Main Street, or Riverside Avenue … or any public place unless specifically authorized to do so.”

The Ordinance Committee — comprised of Assistant Corporation Counsel Attorney Tom Conlin and City Councilors Dave Preleski, David Mills, and Greg Hahn — has been working to expand section 17-18 to include the newest road in Bristol, Hope Street, which intersects the old Centre Square Property.

No members of the public attended to speak during the hearing. The committee accepted the draft language, which will now go before the City Council for approval in an upcoming meeting.

Assistant Corporation Counsel, attorney Richard Lacey, and legal administrator, Noelle Bates, brought forth a request to expand the language of Chapter 23, ordinance enforcement through the act of writing a citation violation ticket.

Bates explained that many departments have been given citation booklets since the start of the program in July 2013. Code of Ordinance Chapter 23 says the zoning enforcement officer, building official, code enforcement officer and/or assistant building inspector, wetlands enforcement officer, the chief of police, and “all employees of the City of Bristol appointed to the police force are hereby designated citation officers and empowered to issue citations as provided.”

Violation ticket prices vary depending on the violation itself, and Lacey said the costs can vary from $50 for a rooster to $150 for a delinquent shopping cart. He also explained that under Title VII, the city can issue a citation violation up to $250.

Lacey explained the issue lies within what occurs after the violation ticket is issued. In some instances, such as a delinquent shopping cart, the individual that receives the violation has 10 days to appeal the ticket. If no appeal is made, and the ticket is not paid, after 15 days the cost doubles, and after 30 days the cost would triple. But, not all violations follow that model.

“What we’re proposing is that all violations double and triple if they’re not paid [within designated time frame],” said Lacey. “It’s a big incentive and I think it would help us collect.”

The Ordinance Committee voted to add Lacey and Bates’ request to an upcoming agenda, to begin the process of evaluating the language in the established ordinance, and draft appropriate language to allow for all violations to double after 15 days, and triple after 30 days of not being paid.