During Tuesday's Community Safety and Social Services Meeting, the committee received an update on an issue that Mayor Peter Brown had expressed frustration over during last week's city council meeting.

Last week, Airdrie's Mayor said he was frustrated with seeing vacant residential lots that were eyesores.

"I see a lot of vacant lots in this community. They're not well kept; there's garbage everywhere, there's debris," he said. "I know there's a Community Standards Bylaw, but it doesn't seem to be getting enforced," he said. "If there is enforcement, I'd love to see how much we're enforcing; but it's it is frustrating."

The Mayor said that one particular parcel of land in Windsong has particularly irked him.

"[It's] a five, six-acre parcel just sitting there; the residents have complained, Jamal [Ramjohn] and I and Engineering and several other people met with them there, there were legitimate concerns about community safety; kids playing in this area," he added. 

Earlier this week, Brian Rayner, the Team Leader for the City's Municipal Enforcement said that it has been brought to the attention of city staff.

"That has been addressed with the team; they have been instructed that they should be doing proactive work and identifying those," Rayner said. "The specific pictures that you're talking about; we are investigating and we do want to make sure that our officers are doing more of that proactive work. I'll admit that we've kind of let it slide a bit and we have talked to both teams and you should see an increase in that proactive work to deal with the unsightly in those neighbourhood lots."

Mayor Brown queried how the process looks.

"What's the process? We get a letter or something, but how long before The City can say - because I've always thought with a Community Standard Bylaw - you now have the power if [the property owners] don't respond in a certain period, that you can proactively clean it up; do the work and throw it on the tax roll," Mayor Brown asked. "If that's not the case, can you just let me know the process?"

City officials explained that there is something called the Stagnant Lot definition, which can be addressed through the unsightly premises within the Community Standards Bylaw.

"That does take time, so an officer would go would see if it fits our criteria, which is listed in the Community Standards Bylaw. From there, a notice would be issued which is seven days, and we would issue it to whoever the owner is on the tax roll."

An officer is then sent back to re-investigate and if nothing has been cleared or cleaned, an order is issued.

"... Which is for 21 days after that time. If the officer then goes back again, if it's not cleaned up, then yes, we at that point can order a cleanup and it would be billed back to the owner of that property. It's about 30 days in total." 

Mayor Brown requested that city administration provide numbers on how many such orders have been issued. 

According to the City's Community Standards Bylaw, the 'Untidy and Unsightly Condition' of a property can include the following: any loose litter, feces, garbage, as well as damaged, dismantled, or derelict vehicles or motor vehicles, smelly or messy compost heaps, and unkempt grass or weeds higher than ten centimetres. Penalties range from $100 to $300 for having an unsightly property.

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