Lee County Commissioner Robert Reives proved earlier this week that common sense hasn’t disappeared entirely from our elected officials.
On the agenda for last Monday’s meeting was discussion about a possible ordinance governing junked cars on private property in the county.
Commissioner Cameron Sharpe brought the idea before the board after getting phone calls from residents voicing their concern about unsightly vehicles, that appeared abandoned, on other residents’ properties.
The City of Sanford has a general police power ordinance governing junked vehicles, but the county doesn’t. Beginning the discussion, attorney to the commissioners, Whitney Parrish, detailed the ins and outs regarding such an ordinance, explaining there would be detailed enforcement guidelines and also the county would need someone responsible for overseeing and enforcing the ordinance.
The discussion didn’t get much farther after Reives spoke.
Reives questioned if there was any real need for an ordinance regulating what is more than likely just a few isolated occurrences. He also brought to light the issue of individual property rights saying, “People that move outside the city have a legitimate right to believe they have more use of their property than you do within the city limits. I don’t want to impose that infringement simply because one or two people get upset with their neighbor and want me to try to find a legal way to enforce their vengeance.” Reives then made a motion to reject the initiating of the ordinance, adding “we’re just looking for a fight that doesn’t need to be started.”
Reives’ motion to reject carried 4-3 with commissioners Kirk Smith, Ariana Lavallee and Andre Knecht joining Reives and Sharpe, Mark Lovick and Bill Carver opposing. In discussion, Carver said he wanted more data and information before proceeding either way.
Reives is correct for recognizing that the county isn’t the city. County residents do feel they have more freedom concerning their property than city residents do.
Also, every issue that comes up doesn’t need to be dealt with by passing a new ordinance or using police enforcement.
As Reives suggested “Sometimes you call your neighbor…..try to work things out.”
Common sense wins this time, but just barely.