Public looks at new nuisance ordinance |

Public looks at new nuisance ordinance

Jill Lufrano

Carson City residents still won’t be able to let their horses, mules and sheep wander freely on the streets and sidewalks, but city officials are taking steps to add a few rules to the books that address more modern problems.

A proposed public nuisance ordinance was unveiled Wednesday, drawing some comments about parking and noise problems at the first of two public workshops.

Booming stereos, people living in recreational vehicles on the streets and garage sales are just some of the everyday activities the city would like to regulate.

The city receives several complaints each year, but staff is unable to address many of them with the 30-year-old or older rules, said Compliance Officer Allan Biddle.

“The (ordinance) we have right now … it doesn’t work in a lot of areas,” Biddle said. “We’ve had a lot of complaints come in to the department, and there’s no way to address them.

“The problem is, a lot of people have moved from horses and into automobiles,” he said.

Proposed rules addressing garage sales, for instance, would make it unlawful for a household to have more than two garage sales a year. It would also restrict the sale to no more than three consecutive days. Residents would not be allowed to place a sign advertising the sale anywhere outside the property line, like on the street corner.

A section will include noise complaints, including making it unlawful to play radios, television sets or musical instruments loudly enough to be heard 50 feet from the source. It would also mean radios blasting from cars on a public right-of-way or space would not be allowed.

Yelling, shouting or hooting on streets between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. would also be in violation of the nuisance rules. And barking dogs that yap continually could bring the owner a warning or ticket.

Most public comments Wednesday centered around regulating RV and trailer parking on the street, but the issue is not yet included in the proposed ordinance. The ordinance would not allow RVs and trailers to be parked on the side yard and front yard of a residence in an area that is not paved.

The city is planning to hold another public workshop strictly on RV parking in February.

RV owner Carl Johnson said he came to the meeting Wednesday to voice his objection to placing too many restrictions on RV parking, especially with the lack of available storage in the area.

“My biggest complaint is, I don’t want things to get out of hand in the other direction,” Johnson said. “We’re up to nearly 3,000 RVs in this town.”

Resident Jim Breyer, who is retired on a fixed income, said he keeps an RV on his property because he can’t afford storage.

“Cut me some slack,” Breyer said. “I can barely afford to stay in my house. Just take it easy on the RVs; we can’t afford anymore.”

City staff plans to hold another public meeting in February to get more comments about the proposed ordinance. It might be taken to the Board of Supervisors in March for action.

In any case, the city will likely continue to enforce public nuisance ordinances only after receiving public complaints, a process the city is working to streamline, said Daren Winkelman, city health director. It is also proposed that city code enforcement officers be authorized to write administrative tickets, which carry a lesser fine than what is now issued.

“We’re not going to cruise around and look for (violations),” Winkelman said. “I can tell you right now, that’s not going to happen.”

Contact Jill Lufrano at or 881-1217.

For a copy of the proposed ordinance, call the Planning and Community Development Department at 887-2188.