The Democrat applauds Sedalia City Council members Don Meier, Bob Cross, Russell Driskell, Jim Cunningham and Larry Stevenson in their votes Monday rejecting the proposed Broadway Boulevard front yard parking ordinance.
The Citizens for a Clean Sedalia Committee have had a number of laudable successes since the panel’s formation. Its neighborhood clean sweeps reportedly remove 20 tons of trash during each event and volunteers have logged almost 1,500 total hours removing yard waste, tires, appliances and other eyesores from residential properties free of charge. Likewise, Clean Sedalia’s lobbying for successful passage of the downtown building inspection ordinance should both help preserve the historic heart of our community and limit the degree to which taxpayers are left footing the bill for damaged or fallen downtown buildings.
However, we believe in this instance the ordinance created from Clean Sedalia’s recommendation was too narrowly defined and seemed by all accounts to single out only a handful of residents. While some exceptions may apply, as a general rule ordinances should be broad and applicable citywide rather than tailored to address the behavior of specific individuals.
There is no denying that Broadway Boulevard is a showcase for how the city presents itself to visitors and we agree steps should be taken to help ensure our tree-lined and architectural jewel remains an asset. However, contrary to some opinions on the matter, property owners who live within city limits do not enjoy an absolute right to “do as they please” with their properties. Life in an incorporated city means by definition that property owners must abide by zoning, health, safety and nuisance regulations.
Given that the issue relates to only a few homes, we would prefer to see city officials, committee members and homeowners meet to discuss possible remedies to the problem rather than addressing the matter through a city ordinance.
If such discussions prove fruitless, a citywide ban on yard parking seems the only fair way to ensure all Sedalia neighborhoods get to enjoy the benefits of having a clean, safe and attractive place to live and raise their families.
As to whether the city could manage enforcement of a citywide ban on yard parking, it is city officials themselves who establish the number of code enforcement officers the city employs and have it well within their power to increase that number should it be deemed necessary.