CHARLES CITY — A new ordinance that passed a third and final reading at a Charles City Council meeting last week will allow the city to more actively combat “chronic nuisance” properties.

Council members unanimously the ordinance. It declares a “chronic nuisance property” as one where nuisance activities have occurred at least three times in the past 12 months and require a law enforcement response.

City-owned properties are exempt.

The law is unrelated to the ordinance that would allow landlords to keep a log of all residents living in their properties. That proposal has not been discussed in a city meeting.

City Administrator Steven Diers said a nuisance activity can range from fights, illegal drug activity, assaults and similar violations.

He said after two such incidents, police can notify the property owner the property will become a “chronic nuisance property” after the next offense.

If a third incident occurs, police will issue another notice. If the owner fails to respond, the property owner will be fined at least $750.

“This is something we’ve been working on for nine to 10 months,” Diers said Thursday. “And we have certain properties where there always seems to be junk vehicles or a fight breaks out, stuff like that ... that’s really the point of this ordinance.”

Diers said the ordinance was modeled after similar versions throughout Iowa because of their success.

“It’s based on what we’ve seen in other communities .... because you’re on calls to that property,” he said. “You’re not dealing with the resident, but the property itself.”

After the initial $750 fine, the city can fine up to $50 for each additional “nuisance activity” that requires law enforcement to respond.

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