Apache Junction’s proposal to tighten its rules on property maintenance will be picked apart Thursday by three City Council members trying to find middle ground on a divisive issue.
The debate has been contentious over whether the city should regulate what homeowners store in their front yards, where they park their RVs, boats and inoperable vehicles, and other aspects of home and yard care, Vice Mayor R.E. Eck said.
"It’s going to be very difficult to come up with an ordinance that’s going to make everybody happy. It’s like flipping a coin," he said.
Eck, with councilmen Dave Waldron and Joe Severs, sit on the new subcommittee. They will discuss the proposed property maintenance codes, hear public comment, and possibly make changes before the codes go to the full council for a final vote.
Proponents say tougher maintenance standards will boost property values and improve the city’s image.
The draft ordinance penned by city staff got a mixed response late last year, particularly from the city’s older north-side neighborhoods, where residents who value their property rights fear new rules would crimp their rural lifestyles.
"If you want to do it, keep it below (Apache Trail)," said resident Pat Beasley. "We don’t want it up here. We don’t need it up here."
John Gordon, branch manager for Coldwell Banker Success Realty, said he hopes some new standards are adopted, and the condition of neighboring homes is a factor when pricing a house about to go on the market.
"I think right now we have too many parts of the city that are too trashy-looking," he said.
The council decided in May to turn the matter over to a resident-led committee. Then the issue lay dormant until July, when Waldron suggested having a City Council subcommittee hold public hearings on the topic to streamline the process.
Former Councilwoman Carol Urich said that decision has compounded some resident’s feelings that officials aren’t taking their opinions seriously.
Waldron said he hopes the subcommittee meetings will help repair some of the damage.
"We should have gone out to the public with a blank sheet of paper and asked them, ‘What do you want?’ " he said.
What: Advisory Committee on Property Maintenance and Standards meeting
When: 6 p.m. Thursday
Where: Apache Junction City Council chambers, 300 E. Superstition Blvd.