Corning appoints nuisance abatement, code enforcement hearing officer

Tony Cardenas

With the adoption by Corning's City Council of an amended nuisance ordinance, there came a need for a third party hearing officer.

Recommended by city staff, the city council voted unanimously to have that position filled by Tony Cardenas, the city's former police chief.

Corning's former mayor, Gary Strack, currently has the position of hearing officer for issues of vehicle abatement, removal and disposal as public nuisances, but it was realized a second hearing officer was needed.

Cardenas has been appointed as a second officer to hear the cases related to nuisance abatement and code enforcement. This is a voluntary capacity position at no cost to the city.

Cardenas has also served on Corning's City Council and currently is a member of the Corning Community Foundation and the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians-facilitated Promise Neighborhood Grant committee.

The city council approved the nuisance ordinance earlier this month, clarifying and updating rules and regulations relating to what is deemed a nuisance, enforcement and abatement.

The ordinance provides nuisance definitions and the process for abatement, including weeds/vegetation, substandard buildings, storage of vehicles, debris, storage of garbage, hazardous substance storage or discharge, zoning violations and violation of the city's marijuana ordinance, noise, animals, machinery and more.

Wording in the ordinance states, “the existence of public nuisances, left unabated, result in a blight to the Corning community, can be a threat to the health of the citizens, and can create a safety risk.” It also, in part, defines “nuisance” to mean anything which is injurious to health, or is indecent or offensive to the senses, including an unreasonably high noise, or an obstruction to the free use of property, so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property.

According to the ordinance, if the city ends up abating the nuisance, the property owner will be required to pay for the costs to the city.

There is also a portion in the ordinance concerning “summary abatement” for issues that reasonably appear to cause or constitute an imminent or immediate danger to the health or safety of the public.

Another section of the ordinance concerns the issuance of criminal citations by city code enforcement authorized to do so.

“Noise” is included in the ordinance as a nuisance, coming on the heels of several complaints to the city council by residents concerning neighbors playing music or revving vehicle engines excessively loud or at unseemly hours.

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