Marlinton residents and Facebook users, please take note: There is no invasion of freedom underway.
The Town of Marlinton has no desire to invade your homes.
I will try to explain – using the statements from concerned “out of town” citizens:
If an individual wants to live in a leaf-pile or rent a leaf-pile to live in, I agree, it is nobody’s business. If you let your dog pee on the rented leaf-pile, at a price freely agreed upon, I agree, it’s nobody business.
That’s simple enough.
What is not so simple is knowing little children and sometimes elderly parents or other relatives are forced to exist in the same leaf-pile, because they have no other place to go.
But, that is a story for another day.
If the leaf-pile is within city limits, certain minimum standards should be expected.
For instance, has electricity and/or other utilities been installed within the leaf-pile. If so, the owner will be expected to conform to certain minimum standards. Once those minimum health and safety standards are met the Town would expect the same to be maintained. Also, at some point, it will probably become necessary, for the Town to know if the dog is yours. Has it been taxed and has it had its shots? Furthermore, is it being contained within the property boundaries of the leaf-pile? Also, a definition may be required here, since we hear it all: if the dog stays on your porch and you occasionally feed it or call it by name, then, it is considered your dog and you are responsible for it.
The Town’s position is: if you rent property, we want you to have lodging free of certain hazardous conditions that could impact the health and safety of others. We are not talking about soiled carpet and chipped paint. We are concerned that electrical conditions are safe and (at least) smoke detectors are present on the premise. It is a shame, the Department of Health does not consider bed-bugs a health risk. Probably, if they were in the next apartment, it would be seen differently. I, for one, believe the claim of “health and safety” is a legitimate claim. Addressing certain items and areas of concern, already covered under existing laws, requires going inside a property to “inspect.”
Note: Look what is going on after the California warehouse fire that took the lives of 30-plus victims. I would rather be criticized for trying to do something than condemned for having ignored everything.
Furthermore, the Ordinance is still a work in progress, not to be voted on until February or March. When the proposed ordinance is finalized, the town intends to inspect properties when unoccupied and before the next tenant is moved in. Then, when animals are left behind to starve or dead cats are found, I plan to prosecute the parties responsible for animal cruelty.
When the property inspection is due for renewal in two years (as now intended), the inspection would be by appointment only, with the property owner or agent present. The Town should never go uninvited into a private space unless an imminent hazard is known or reasonably expected to exist.
Who likes rules or restrictions?
The main point is: Where does it start?
The federal government has laws. The state has theirs. Typically, municipal law is tied to state law. Most regulations have their origin in an accident or a lawsuit somewhere. These cases are usually brought on by someone who has no respect for law or order and just wants to do what they want to do and how they want to do.
Hazardous Materials regulations literally began during the Civil War, because the North and the South were blowing up more and more of their own people in the process of moving gun powder and ammunition.
In closing, FYI: During, a recent customer request for water service, we discovered another case of a location previously being cross-connected.
A cross-connection exists when a private water source has the potential to come in contact with the town’s public water system.
Cross-connection is illegal.
If you have the town system tied in some cross-over way with a separate, private system, please have it reversed.
These are separate situations that require the Town to do spot inspections in the new year.
No, we are not trying to do harm.
Yes, private and commercial owners will be notified of inspections as the situation requires.