By Dedra Cordle
Differing versions of an ordinance to prohibit farm animals and livestock from taking up residence in the village of Urbancrest has temporarily halted its adoption.
The mix-up was unveiled at the April 13 council meeting as the third and final reading of the policy went up for a vote. Before that vote could happen and turn this policy into village law, Law Director Rodd Lawrence said that it was not in the “correct legal form to be approved.”
According to Lawrence, the text of the legislation was missing the correct legal language and form, thus making the ordinance unsubstantial.
“There is no substance to this ordinance,” he said.
He then asked the council if they had made any changes to the ordinance as the same concerns were expressed last year.
In August, village council introduced its first version of the ordinance that would prohibit residents from possessing farm animals or livestock on their property. It was pulled from the table shortly thereafter because Lawrence said it was “not in the correct form.”
Additionally, code enforcement officer Randall Bogue wanted to make clarifications about service animals within the text.
After Lawrence questioned the latest version, councilwoman Alicia Wiggins said that the version he had before him was the wrong version.
“We made changes to that version and I gave an updated copy to you and the council at the meeting in December,” she said.
While attending the meeting virtually, Wiggins read her version of the legislation and Lawrence agreed that it appeared to be in the correct form. The problem, however, was that members of the council and the law director all had different versions of the legislation.
Because the majority of the council was attending virtually, copies of the latest version of the legislation could not be distributed. Instead, the council agreed to once again table the passage of the legislation until May so they could “all get on the same page.”
The latest version does include changes from the version that was presented last year and it is not just limited to the legal language of the documents. The version that is slated to be voted upon next month includes changes to the time residents have to remove an animal after receiving a cease and desist order (30 days in the first version, 35 days in the latest) and the exclusion of fines. Wiggins said they did not see the point of issuing fines as she did not believe they would be enforced.
Mayor Joseph Barnes Sr. said fines have been issued and collected before in regard to other ordinances being violated. However, he added that residents usually comply to cease and desist orders, which make the prospect of fines null.