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Colfax meets third and final time to review ordinances

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX — After another marathon session, the third in the past few weeks, the Colfax Village Board has finished reviewing recommended changes to the village’s 800 page ordinance book.

The Colfax Village Board, meeting as the ad hoc code review committee, finished going through the suggested changes March 16.

The village board began reviewing changes to the ordinances recommended by a company called General Code on March 2 and reviewed additional portions of the ordinances March 9.

The Colfax Village Board approved contracting with General Code in December of 2012 for $12,000 to review the village’s ordinances that were updated last in 1998.

The existing ordinances are based on state statutes dated 1995 and 1996.

Most of the suggested changes to the ordinances are minor, such as updating references to state statutes, changing wording to make sections of the ordinances consistent, and removing references to fines and fees and inserting language indicating the amount would be set by the village board in a separate action.

Village board members briefly considered reviewing the fee schedule at the March 16 meeting but decided they’d had enough for one evening.

Jackie Ponto, previous administrator-clerk-treasurer, first suggested that the village board review the ordinances and also discussed the fee schedule with the village board several times.

At that time, the village board decided to hold off on adjusting the fine and fee schedule until the ordinances had been reviewed and revised.

Several additional changes will be included in the revised ordinances:

• Tree branches must be trimmed to hang no lower than ten feet above the sidewalk (the previous distance was no lower than seven feet above the sidewalk).

• Although board members considered changing the requirement to four feet, they eventually decided to leave the ordinance prohibiting parking a vehicle within six feet of the entrance to an alley, private road or a driveway. Six feet, village trustees reasoned, would give drivers a little more room to see traffic on the street when exiting an alley or a driveway.

• The old bed and breakfast ordinance allowed four or fewer rooms to be rented for more than ten nights in a 12-month period. The ordinance will be revised to allow eight or fewer rooms and no more than a total of 20 tourists or other transients for more than ten nights in a 12-month period.

General Code will make the revisions to the ordinances, and then the village board will review the ordinances again, in addition to a review of certain sections by the village’s attorney.

When all the revisions and reviews have been completed, the Colfax Village Board will take action to adopt the revised ordinances.