City Council moves on housing, trash cleanup

The Jackson City Council approved unanimously a change to the accessory dwelling units ordinance in the City’s laws that will now allow different options for possible renting availabilities in homes.

That was one of the main measures taken by the Council in their monthly meeting on Tuesday.

According to City Planner Stan Pilant, the original ordinance only allowed for rental structures at a person’s house to be attached to the home itself.

“This limited who could rent out a small place like this because this either meant you had extra space in your home or you were able to add on to your home, and not everyone has that ability,” Pilant said to the Council.

The amendment to the ordinance now allows for the rental space to not be attached to the main home.

Another change is to the ordinance for mother-in-law suites.

The original law said they had to be above a garage or some other space, but Pilant said that has needed to change over time.

“If you’re putting an elderly parent or someone who’s sick or terminally ill in this suite, then it doesn’t make sense for them to be only accessible by climbing stairs,” Pilant said.

Pilant said the entire collection of changes were necessary because the ordinances were originally drafted to regulate housing for families.

“Well in the time since these were written, the definition of family has changed, so now we’re recommending the removal of the requirement for a relative by blood or marriage to be in the suite,” Pilant said.

The Council approved the amendments unanimously to provide some housing options. As Jackson is expected to grow in the coming years, the group said they hoped this change would help provide housing for some of the people moving to the area.

In a non-related vote, City Chief Innovative Officer Lauren Kirk brought a resolution to the Council to approve a housing commission.

Kirk discussed with the Council on Thursday, Sept. 28, during the agenda review that a housing commission would address concerns related to the housing market that’s growing more and more crowded with buyers as Jackson continues to grow.

Councilman Larry Lowrance had a number of questions about the commission itself like how big would it be and what would their authority be if approved, but the resolution up for vote this month was on whether or not to approve the commission. Questions like the ones Lowrance had would be figured out once Kirk begins assembling the commission and determining its specific objectives on behalf of the City.

The Council also approved a few changes to the trash ordinances that all had the goal of easing the process of policing and cleaning up bulk instances of litter.

Anyone who is in violation of the City’s litter policies will be subject to the City stepping in quickly if the litter is affecting traffic or is becoming a public safety issue.

The offense will be posted on the property to alert the owner or occupiers of the offense, and they will have five days to clean it up.

Once a notice is sent to a property owner about litter on a specific piece of property, that piece of property is on notice with a zero tolerance policy for the rest of that calendar year.

The Council members were collectively glad to have the changes.

“This is like a Godsend,” said Frank McMeen.

“It’s not like a Godsend. It is a Godsend,” said Richard Donnell.

Multiple Council members made the motion to accept, and multiple members seconded it.

Brandon Shields,