Local councilmen put off a vote until the next meeting so they will have had a chance to read the slim paperback that Rodney “Cooney” Richard, the city’s contract building inspector, calls a “very powerful book.”
The “International Property Maintenance Code” book has been adopted by Carencro, Rayne, Duson and Scott. Richard, a certified inspector who operates as a private contractor, helps to enforce the code in each of those communities.
Speaking before the council Monday, Richard stressed, however, that making the code work is up to them.
“It’s strictly under y’all’s control,” he said.
Councilman Mike Fuselier complained that the city seems to have lost control over blighted or dilapidated properties, two of which in his district were on the agenda.
“Who determines if a property is dilapidated or not?” Fuselier asked. “I’m at a loss as to why we don’t know how to do this anymore.”
The code book lays out in black and white what specifications a structure must meet to avoid mandatory destruction – or in the case of mobile homes, to be allowed into the city. Richard made it plain that he as an inspector cannot enter and inspect a property without the permission of the occupants. But, he said, that is exactly who the codes benefit.
“Ninety-nine point nine percent of the complaints come from people who are renting and can’t get the landlord to make repairs,” he said.
On the two properties that came before the council, they voted to give J. Burton Willis 60 days to move a dilapidated mobile home off his lot in the 300 block of Cemetery Street, and postponed action on house in the 500 block of Buchanan Street still wearing a blue roof from the last hurricane until the home’s owner can be positively identified.
In other action, the council:
•Granted the Kiwanis Club of St. Martinville permission to hold its expanded Pepper Festival Friday and Saturday, Sept. 14 and 15, on the old J.B. Talley Co. property on New Market Street.
•Granted the New Comers Social and Civic Club permission to hold its annual Mardi Gras parade through downtown St. Martinville on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013.