Three strikes and you’re out.
Wellington village council is discussing an ordinance related to chronic nuisance activities such as disorderly conduct, alcohol violations, and offenses such as assault, sales of cigarettes to minors, criminal damaging, and mischief.
The consensus so far seems to be that police are responding to the same addresses for the same calls too often — whether it’s the Mosey Inn or any number of private residences.
The proposed law would allow the chief of police to serve property owners with written notice after two or more nuisance activities in a 12-month period.
At the third occurence, fines can start being assessed.
Costs would be based on the hourly wage of the police officer or those involved investigating or stopping problem activities, plus 75 percent, multiplied by the number of hours to abate the nuisance. There is a process to appeal.
“I have seen this type of ordinance be incredibly effective,” said police chief Tim Barfield. “The idea is to get people’s attention and to get them understanding that they are going to start to be fined if they don’t take some responsibility for what is going on.”
Council began talking about nuisance abatement ordinances after a Dec. 28 stabbing and melee at the Mosey Inn on North Main Street.
Officers were called out to the bar 59 times in 2015 for everything from fights and thefts to domestic violence and noise complaints.
Officials say they’re not targetting the Mosey Inn. They say the ordinance could just as easily apply to several homes where police have repeatedly been called for nuisance activities such as sexual assault, shootings, fights, and unruly juveniles.
However, it’s clear they are talking about the Mosey Inn.
Barfield, Lt. Jeff Shelton, mayor Hans Schneider and the village administrator Steve Pyles recently sat down with the Mosey Inn owner to discuss the pending legislation. “It was made very clear to him in the meeting that there is not a penalty for you being proactive and calling and saying, ‘Hey we have a problem down here and we need your help.’” Schneider said. “We want them to report stuff.”
“My point here isn’t to penalize anybody, it’s to make people accountable for what goes on at the place they have responsibility for,” Barfield said. “If we were talking about an occasional fight in the alley, I don’t think we’d be talking about this legislation, but that’s not what we’re talking about.”
“At the end of the day this is just about cleaning up what is clearly a problem in most people’s minds, it’s not about running them out of town,” said Barfield.
Council is reviewing the legislation to determine whether it will include such factors such as junk vehicles, lighting, and noise.
Catherine Gabe can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @ReporterGabe on Twitter.
Photo by Catherine Gabe | Wellington Enterprise
Officials say they aren’t targetting the Mosey Inn with a nuisance abatement ordinance, but say the law will help business owners and residents be responsible for their actions.