Harrisburg neighbors brought their protests to city hall. They say Augusta needs a chronic nuisance ordinance. (October 6, 2009 / WRDW-TV)
Panama City- City commissioners are considering a new ordinance that would identify residences or businesses receiving five police complaint calls within 30 days, as a “chronic nuisance.”
Not everybody is supporting this proposal.
Panama City Landlord Steve Robinson says many of his rental properties are in a crime ridden neighborhood.
He’s afraid this new ordinance could infringe upon his property rights.
The neighborhood surrounding Mound Avenue has a reputation for criminal activity.
Last August, a woman was found murdered in a home on Mound Ave.
Last week, a man allegedly set his ex-girlfriend’s trailer on fire.
Robinson says he’s called police on his own tenants after suspecting them of selling drugs.
“I’ve cooperated with Panama City police on numbers of occasions and there’s been many calls,” said Robinson.
If city officials deem a home, business, or an apartment a chronic nuisance, the land owner could face a possible fine.
If the land owner does not comply with police after receiving a notice, the case could go to a special magistrate, and the city could vacate, demolish, or otherwise abate the nuisance.
"I've resided here nearly 15 years. I own a lot of property on this street and I'm very concerned about infringements on property rights," said Robinson.
City Commissioner John Kady says the proposal isn’t meant to target property owners, just those who are abusing city resources.
"We really don't have anything to handle issues where businesses or residences are using a high number or large amount of public resources like police force. So, that is what this will address," said Kady.
The ordinance stems from a concern over the impact on downtown Panama City from the large homeless population around the Rescue Mission.
Some residents are urging commissioners to consider other options.
"I don't think it should be based on calls. I think it should be based on some other criteria," said Robinson.
"It isn't like 5 calls and you're out. There's a process where the public can be heard anytime there's an issue," said Commissioner Kady.
Commissioners will likely consider the proposed ordinance during the March 27th meeting.