What exactly is community decay? Who does this apply to?
The Community Decay Ordinance for Lincoln County (2018-05) reads “It is unlawful for any person to maintain conditions that contribute to community decay on property owned, occupied, or controlled by him or her on or adjacent to any public roadway within the county.”
At this point, one might breath a sigh of relief. “On or adjacent to any public roadway”- that can’t apply to very much of the county, right?
Ah, but this ordinance begins with definitions. Adjacent: “beside, next to, contiguous or nearby. Properties adjacent to any public roadway and properties within public view, as defined within this ordinance”
This is a rather broad definition of adjacent, and I’d encourage the reader to consider how many places they know of that are “beside, next to, contiguous or nearby” a public roadway.
Next. Public view: “any area visible from any point up to six feet above the surface of the center of any public roadway”
So now we have any property “beside, next to, contiguous or nearby” any public roadway and “any area visible from any point up to six feet above the surface of the center of any public roadway”…
I’d encourage the reader to imagine just how far one could see from six feet above the center of a public roadway on a hill.
But wait- there’s more! All this assumes that we know what a public roadway is (it’s a road- right? Not quite). Fortunately, the ordinance includes a definition. Public roadway- “any highway, road, alley, lane, parking area, or other public or private space adapted and fitted for public travel that is in common use by the public”
So, that leaves us with a rather broad idea of what sort of places community decay is not allowed. And we haven’t even gotten to what community decay actually is! More next time.