Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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February 7, 2013

City talks makeup of Housing Code committee

By CHRIS AGEE

Following Mineral Wells City Council's approval last month to create a seven-member board to oversee the city's new minimum housing code, council members discussed the committee's makeup and length of application period at Tuesday night's meeting.

Council took no official action but Mayor Mike Allen expressed his desire to see a mix of landowners, realtors and residents on the committee.

As of Tuesday evening, the city had received 13 applications and Allen said he would like to set Feb. 13 as the deadline to apply.

Councilman Thomas Lively said he has been in contact with a number of potential applicants he feels should be considered and agreed one more week should be sufficient for any interested candidates.

Selection of committee members was also discussed, though no official method was adopted. Lively noted he preferred a vote among all council members on each potential candidate rather than each member simply appointing his or her recommendation.

City Manager Lance Howerton presented proposed details about the minimum housing code to local landowners and council members at two separate meetings last month.

He explained the details are still open for debate but suggested an amended version of the 2006 International Property Maintenance Code to govern declining rental properties within the city.

The purpose of the code, officials say, is not to remove anyone from their homes but to deal with substandard residences by bringing them up to minimum standards.

Following public comment on the issue at a January meeting, council members voted 4-1 to approve the motion to accept applicants for the committee.

The opposing vote came from Place 1 Councilman Rick Bennett, who expressed concern about government overreach and wanted to table the motion in order to further discuss the proposal with constituents.

Lively voted for the motion, though he stated his opinion the code should be enforced on both rental and owner-occupied properties.

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