Council passes nuisance, animal ordinances

By CHRISTINE STEPHENSON
cstephenson@dcherald.com

JASPER — Despite apprehension from some council members and members of the public, the Jasper Common Council passed the 2021 public nuisance and animal ordinances Tuesday evening.

The new nuisance ordinance now includes a section about animal noise, removing noise entirely from the animal ordinance, and provides a description of what is considered “reasonable."

The goal of the nuisance ordinance, City Attorney Renee Kabrick said, is to leave it up to residents’ discretion whether certain noise is reasonable.

Residents may still file complaints, but further investigation from the police department or Fire Chief Kenny Hochgesang, the city’s code enforcement officer, will determine if the noises are actually in violation. The ordinance includes both residential areas and commercial businesses under the same regulations.

Kabrick said she attempted to include a clear set of guidelines while keeping the ordinance more open to interpretation than before.

“It’s not all inclusive, but it is a list of factors that would be looked at,” she said.

Several council members and Dubois County residents voiced concern that commercial businesses, such as grooming services and kennels, will not be reprimanded for excessive amounts of noise.

Kabrick said that although those businesses may naturally produce more noise than those in residential areas, they will still be held to a reasonable standard.

“That doesn’t mean it’s going to be a free-for-all,” she said.

Councilman Dave Hurst said he thinks the nuisance ordinance is too vague and will cause problems between residents in the future.

“I don’t see where this is such a good deal for people,” he said. “We still need to do more on it.”

Councilman Kevin Manley said the ordinance is as complete as possible and there is no way everyone will be completely satisfied.

“Unless you want to put decibels in there, it’s going to be subjective,” he said. “I think it’s a heck of an ordinance the way it is.”

Alicen Ingle, treasurer of the American Professional Pet Groomers Association, said at the meeting that she supports the new verbiage of the nuisance ordinance and thinks it will bridge the gap between “those who are pet people and those who are not” and keep businesses accountable.

County resident Karla Neukam said she is worried residents’ concerns won’t be heard if the ordinance is so open.

Council members emphasized they are available to discuss concerns with their constituents about problems that may arise with the new ordinances.

The nuisance ordinance draft with animal changes is available on the city’s website at https://www.jasperindiana.gov/council/. Both ordinances will be implemented April 1, 2021, as to give residents time to prepare for the new changes.

The council also:

• Approved transfer appropriations for 2020.

• Approved the 2021 salary ordinance.

• Approved the 2021 CARES Act ordinance.

• Approved a capital asset resolution. Only items $1,500 and above will be tracked for accounting purposes now instead of the previous $500 and above.




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