Monday, November 09, 2009

Charlotte City Council passes targeted property rental ordinance in effort to fight crime

“The ultimate proactivity (against crime) is assuming everyone is guilty and making them prove their innocence.”
– City Council member Warren Cooksey, or some character from “The Matrix”

The Charlotte City Council passed a property rental ordinance Monday night designed to target property owners who fail to take responsibility for crime on their properties.

The final ordinance that was passed was a compromise among stakeholders, including landlords and residents of areas affected by crime in nearby properties. It requires landlords who rent property among the top 4% of rental property in criminal calls to police to register and pay fees to support record–keeping and two new non–sworn officers to help track down landlords who don’t want to be found or to help those landlords improve their properties. Background and details, and a few numbers, and a letter from the Eastside Political Action Committee.

The council’s public safety committee worked with police to craft the ordinance and presented in to the full council in October. Monday’s meeting included a public hearing in which 20 people spoke, most supporting the compromise ordinance but some calling for rules that would have required all people who rent property in the city to register and pay a fee to build and maintain a database of landlords.

After the hearing, almost every council member and Mayor Pat McCrory had questions or statements about the ordinance, expressing wide–ranging concerns about crime, poverty, fair housing and the criminal justice system.

The ordinance passed 7–3, with council members Anthony Foxx (the mayor–elect), Warren Turner and Michael Barnes opposed the measure. Both Foxx and Barnes during discussions had indicated a desire for more time to consider the ordinance. Barnes noted that council member James Mitchell Jr. was not at the meeting, yet many of the affected properties are in his district.

No comments: