Some county residents said they welcomed a countywide nuisance ordinance. Others said they would fight it to the end.
After weighing the comments, the Curry County Land Use Committee unanimously passed a nuisance ordinance during a Friday meeting.
County Manager Lance Pyle said the County Commission will consider a notice of intent to adopt the ordinance that includes a few changes reflecting concerns mentioned during Friday’s meeting. He said the commission will hold a public hearing in August before deciding whether to adopt the ordinance.
Health and safety violations in the proposed ordinance include stagnant pools of water, refuse, structures that could contain vermin and other disease-carrying insects.
Penalties include a $500 fine.
County Commissioner and Land Use Committee Chairman Tim Ashley said the nuisance ordinance is a step in the right direction.
“I’m excited that we actually have a starting point,” he said.
County Commissioner Frank Blackburn said the ordinance will avoid infringing on property rights while addressing health and safety issues. Blackburn was a critic of previous drafts because they included items that focused on beautification.
“I have an interest in protecting property rights,” he said. “I believe this (ordinance) will avoid violating property rights.”
Clovis resident Lonnie Leslie said a nuisance ordinance would have changed his decision not to live in the county.
“I truly believe this ordinance can help with a lot of things,” he said.
County resident G.C. Ross said the revised draft of the ordinance addressed concerns residents brought up during previous Land Use Committee meetings.
“I think it’s time to move forward,” he said. “If we don’t move forward we never will.”
Capt. Mae-Li Allison of Cannon Air Force Base’s public affairs said a nuisance ordinance could encourage county residents to clean up properties along the entrances around the city limits, specifically the ones leading to the base, which some base personnel call “The Trail of Tears.”
Detractors argued that the ordinance tramples on their rights and would put a financial burden on some residents.
James Priest said the ordinance infringed on the rights of residents who live in the county and outside city limits.
“Leave us alone, we’re not hurting anybody,” he said. “You shouldn’t tell me how to live.”
Priest, who has owned his residence since 1942, said he felt that the ordinance was influenced by the city of Clovis and Cannon.
“They’re not supposed to change anything,” Priest said of base personnel.
Ashley said the ordinance originated from county residents who had concerns about health and safety issues regarding neighboring properties.
Alvin Clark said the committee’s timing with the ordinance is poor as fuel prices continue to rise.
“How can you impose something like this (ordinance) at this time?” he asked committee members. “People don’t have the money to clean up. I suggest you table it and forget it for a while.”
Pyle said an ordinance addressing health and safety has been needed for several years.