KayLynn Roberts-McMurray
This house on Crawford Street has been sent a notice to clean up the debris.

Eyesores in the community are a little bit like the squeaky door at your house. If you let it go long enough, you no longer see them.

The City of Ely is attempting to change that mindset by encouraging property owners to take a proactive approach to the appearance of their property.

The City of Ely placed a Legal Notice in The Ely Times last week for a notice and order to all property owners to remove any and all weeds, debris, or other offensive matter from the owner’s property within thirty calendar days after the publication.

The compliance date is May 6. This is pursuant to City Code 4-3-2. Weeds, slop, waste, garbage, bones, manure, scrap motor vehicles, old bed frames, mattresses, or other debris permitted to grow or accumulate is declared to be a nuisance and detrimental to the health, safety and general welfare of the people of the city.

City Administrator Robert Switzer noted that several letters have already been sent out to property owners, some even two notices.

“Some have acted very quickly when a property owner receives a letter, others who are absentee property owners either are unable to or unwilling to clean up their property,” Switzer said.

It is not a quick process, for the city to get property owners to comply.

The order defines the steps that the city takes to try to get the property owner to clean up their property.

If a property owner fails to comply with the city’s request after the letters are sent, and if no response is made by the property owner, the issue goes back before the council to request abatement of the property.

Switzer said with it being a mild winter they were able to abate several properties, one within the last few weeks at Mountain View Drive.

Several months ago, two properties on Orson Avenue that were practically side by side were also on the list to abate. Abatement is not something the city wants to do.

Switzer explained that when the city has to abate a property, personnel from the street department are tasked with cleaning up the property, then a  prorate of the cost to complete the cleanup is attached as a lien to the property.

The city also has the ability to enforce a penalty of $1,000 a day for property not in compliance of the ordinance.

How does the city receive notification of these properties? Are they out perusing the streets? Is it selective enforcement?

No, many of the complaints are citizen complaints. Switzer said that any citizen can make a complaint via telephone or by contacting the city and requesting a form.

Some may ask if this is part of the beautification program that’s going on with several parts of the city?

While there are several beautification teams that have been organized, this ordinance has been in place for several years before this project came along.

A visual appealing community increases property value, attracts businesses and improves a neighborhood’s image.

Some might even say that a nice-looking neighborhood promotes good behavior. With NDOT’s Beautification and Paving Project set to begin in 2019, action teams have been created to assist with beautifying Ely.

A Downtown beautification/public plaza team, Nevada Northern Railway Team and Steering Committee is comprised of volunteers. Anyone is welcome to participate.

Plans to have wayfinding signage, trash receptacles, benches and planters in each designated block including a theme that highlights a cultural symbol of the cultures and heritage that initially created the City of Ely are in the works as well.

The most recent move on beautification will be a summer-themed window painting contest that is set to begin on May 11 and a trash clean-up initiative during the month of April.

The next meeting is April 19, at 6:30 p.m. at Wicked Rein, 740 Aultman St.  Beautification is a community efforts, and should be a fun project instead of an obligation.

If the community begins to take appearances seriously then it will be easier to keep the maintenance of the a property more manageable, “the goal is to have voluntary compliance”, Switzer said