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Gresham council ready for vote on code revision

Residents' complaints prompted city staff to rework the revisions

After postponing a vote on proposed code changes and sending the matter back to city staffers to be reworked, Gresham city councilors are scheduled to vote on the new and improved codes Tuesday, Nov. 1.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in Gresham council chambers, 1333 N.W. Eastman Parkway.

Councilors were poised to approve a second reading of the 2011 code review on Oct. 4, to take effect Nov. 3. Instead, citing citizen criticisms, Mayor Shane Bemis asked that the matter be postponed so staff could make changes.

Residents bristled at proposed changes affecting where people can park vehicles on their property and limiting auto repairs taking place on residential property.

Citizens pointed out that the new code language wouldn't allow residents to temporarily park in their yards to unload materials for home improvement projects. They also said code wording on vehicle repair was too vague and instead suggested creating a time limit for such repair.

City staffers have since worked some of those suggestions into the code changes councilors will vote on next week.

Language describing vehicle repairs as major or minor has been replaced with a time limit of no more than two days within a seven-day period.

Under the unlawful parking code, staff has kept the proposal to increase the amount of time a vehicle can park on the street at an address where the vehicle is not registered from 24 hours to 72 hours. However, staff removed a proposed 30-day limit for on-street parking of vehicles registered to an adjacent house.

This 'retains the ability of vehicle owners to park on a street at the address for which the vehicle is registered,' reads the ordinance.

As for parking on private property, staff also has made some changes.

The new language allows people to park in their front, side or rear yards 'for the immediate loading and unloading of persons or property.'

The code also maintains Gresham's existing limit of five vehicles per residential property, but clarifies that only two of those five vehicles can be recreational vehicles.

Other less controversial proposed code changes that residents didn't object to include:

• Specifying that one abandoned vehicle may be parked per residential dwelling on private property if covered by a car cover, behind a 'sight-obscuring fence' (open chain-link won't do) or in a building.

• Regulating where and for how long storage 'PODS' can be placed on private property.

• Requiring property owners to register their vacant property and provide up-to-date contact information for the owner or property caretaker, so code compliance workers can 'gain compliance' from property owners of vacant or foreclosed homes.

If councilors approved the codes, they will take effect Dec. 1.