Carbondale goes slow with new police procedures
December 13, 2012
CARBONDALE – Questions and concerns by town trustees resulted Tuesday in mixed approval of a plan to update police enforcement procedures in Carbondale
For one thing, some trustees at Tuesday night’s meeting were not happy about a proposed ordinance banning the use of obscene language, which in itself was deemed obscene by the trustees.
“It seems odd to me that we’re codifying words like this,” said Trustee Allyn Harvey, reading a list of graphically sexual terms contained in the ordinance.
Harvey was referring to Sec. 9.42-2 of a proposed law against the use of “abusive, insulting, taunting or challenging words that may but does not need to include” the words he mentioned and others.
An embarrassed town attorney, Mark Hamilton, agreed to take a look at the wording of the ordinance with the idea of eliminating the language in question.
Some trustees also questioned a requirement, already present in the town codes, that vehicles parked on private property must be registered and insured, or they can be towed.
Trustee Allyn Harvey said his car, which was sitting in his driveway unregistered and uninsured, was recently towed.
“They towed my car, from my own property,” Harvey said.
The issue arose as the trustees considered modifying the town’s codes related to police procedures.
The parking, traffic and auto-related sections of the proposed new codes come from the 2010 U.S. Model Traffic Code, which town staff had recommended for adoption by Carbondale.
Schilling said the revisions of the town’s codes would bring Carbondale into line with state law.
Harvey’s lament about having his car towed, however, drew a sympathetic response from Trustee Pam Zentmyer.
She asked Police Chief Gene Schilling, “So, in my driveway, I must have my car registered and insured, even if I never drive it?”
Schilling concurred, and explained that the law is meant to deal with abandoned cars sitting on private lots, rather than circumstances such as Harvey’s.
“They’re always tagged, before we do anything,” Schilling added.
Town manager Jay Harrington suggested making a violation of this provision a ticketable offense, rather than a towable one, so residents could contest the matter.
The trustees also suggested changes to an ordinance raising fines and fees for noncriminal traffic offenses.
The trustees agreed to take up the rejected ordinances again, once the corrections had been made, but approved ordinances raising court costs and other fines for minor offenses in the meanwhile.
In other action the trustees:
• Approved a 12-month moratorium, until Dec. 11, 2013, on new applications for medical marijuana dispensaries and retail marijuana facilities. The moratorium is to allow time for the state to figure out how to handle the recently passed Amendment 64 to the state Constitution, which permits possession and use of pot by any state resident age 21 or older.
• Granted a liquor license for a new Mark Fischer restaurant at the former Hestia location at 348 Main St., which was called the Charm School Butchers LLC in its application. Fischer told the council the name came up “in a moment of weakness,” and that he expects to begin remodeling the space in the spring.
• Approved a special event liquor license to the Thompson Divide Coalition, for a fundraising party on Dec. 5 at the Third Street Center.