A proposed ‘chronic nuisance’ ordinance has received a hearing at Lexington’s city hall. But, it’s difficult to say when any action might be taken on the proposal. Officials with Lexington’s Catholic Action Center worry such a law could impact, if not curtail, their services for needy citizens. A number of homeless individuals appeared before members of the urban county council’s public safety committee.
Among them was Joy Bailey, who is staying at the Community Inn along Winchester road.
“They provide medical attention, medication…needs and necessities for anyone who has nothing… They keep the homeless from freezing to death on the streets and the railroad tracks,” said Bailey.
Several of the speakers from the Community Inn asked for churches and non profits to be excluded from any new law.
The committee members also heard from B.W. Blanton Junior. His uncle owns nine commercial and residential properties near the shelter. He says he came out of one of the buildings last spring to find a man urinating in the bushes..
“And of course, I asked him to leave and he did….and I watched him and followed him to where he went….and he went to the shelter and stood there in the shelter with the other people that were there,” said Blanton.
Blanton says people need to be given the dignity of having an appropriate place to use the restroom.
Any property, whether business, residential, or non profit, could be deemed a chronic nuisance based on the number of complaints set out in the ordinance. Retired Lexington police officer Keith Gaines says non-responsive property owners could face fines double the current amount. But Gaines says the intent is to get the issues addressed.
“There has to be documentation either through a report or citation from some government entity that would make it a valid complaint,” added Gaines.
Gaines says the ordinance would pertain to all kinds of nuisances from code enforcement matters to trash to ongoing disturbances. The public safety committee didn’t vote on the proposal Tuesday. It’s unclear when the issue might be considered, but it could get a vote before the end of the year.