Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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June 20, 2013

Owner-occupied residences added to housing code recommendations

Public hearing for minimum housing code committee recommendations set for July 2

By CHRIS AGEE

The seven-member Minimum Housing Code committee, formed under the approval of city council earlier this year, presented its recommendations – which now include owner-occupied residences – to the governing body Tuesday.

The panel, which includes Mayor Mike Allen, was assembled to oversee the creation of the city’s recommended minimum-housing code.

Council members did not approve the recommendations outright at the recent meeting, which would have triggered city staff drafting a new ordinance. Instead, council unanimously supported a motion by Ward 3 Councilman John Upham to host a public hearing at its next meeting, on June 2.

The committee’s recommendations differed in one key aspect from initial city staff proposals. Whereas initial recommendations focused entirely on rental properties, the committee presented a program that would add owner-occupied residences.

Both suggested guidelines – the initial and revised – are variations of the 2006 International Property Maintenance Code.

The committee held four meetings in recent months, ultimately agreeing on a comprehensive program designed to address dilapidated and sub-standard structures in the city.

According to a summary of the proposed code, single- and multi-family residences would be addressed – including hotels and motels.

All residences within the city limits would be subject to an inspection at a suggested cost of $25 per unit, up to a maximum of $250 for multi-family or lodging properties.

City Manager Lance Howerton explained three events would initiate an inspection – a change in water service, property vacancy or a citizen complaint. In dealing with hotel/motel chains, which require comparable or stricter inspections, he said those results would be allowed to serve as a substitute for city inspections.

Allen said the committee performed admirably, explaining its members worked together toward a common goal.

“Though they had some differences, they sat there and worked it out,” he said.

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