Cape Girardeau Residents Generally Supportive Of Nuisance Ordinance Changes

Aug 29, 2013

Cape Girardeau residents were generally supportive of proposed changes to the city’s nuisance ordinances, though some concerns were raised. They met with city leaders at a public hearing Wednesday night in the Osage Center.

The changes increase fines, define graffiti as a nuisance and prohibit a host of items from remaining outside a house, such as inoperable appliances, lumber and building supply items, and bedding. The proposed changes establish a framework for dealing with chronic nuisance violations. It also defines any damaged or disabled vehicle that is not displaying proper license plates as a nuisance. 

Several Cape Girardeau landlords spoke in favor of the proposed changes.  They argue increased nuisance enforcement will improve property values. 

Jason Coalter is the president of the Cape Area Landlords Association, and he saw good things in the changes.

“It literally just gives the city some teeth to basically hold chronic offenders accountable,” Coalter said. “It goes back to common sense and accountability. It’s nothing more than that. If somebody can’t follow the rules that we as a community want in place, or they either shouldn’t be here or they should pay the price for it.”

Everything didn’t sit well with Gail Hoffman. Her husband has a broken work truck on their property which they plan to fix as soon as they save $1700. 

“I think we have too lofty of goals. I don't think disabled vehicles cause crimes. I think we have people like I am that are hard working people that can’t afford some of this stuff. I keep my property mowed. I can't help it if I don’t have $1700 right now,” Hoffman said.

Coalter and others who work in real estate expressed concerns about the ordinance changes regarding vacant buildings. Under the proposed changes, any building which sits vacant for six months would be considered a nuisance. Owners would be required to purchase an annual permit.