City drops lawsuit; will pursue other means 4.08.09

Written by David Green.

A property maintenance violation case will soon take a new turn for the City of Morenci.

A motion of nolle prosequi was filed in district court Feb. 24, signaling the end of prosecution in the case.

Kyle Schaffner was issued citations for several alleged violations which he described as cosmetic. When no action was taken to reach compliance with the city’s property maintenance code, the issue moved to district court.

The property in the case is the old Blanchard Hospital building on North Summit Street, now used for apartments.

Although civil municipal infractions were dismissed, said Morenci Chief of Police Larry Weeks, the violations remain and the city is considering alternative methods to achieve compliance.

Weeks said the city’s building inspector made repeated attempts to resolve the situation, but when that failed, the case was turned over to his department to issue citations.

Fines are levied to encourage compliance, he said, and in the past there have been situations in which a fine was dismissed once compliance was reached.

Schaffner expressed his dissatisfaction with the city’s enforcement procedure. Through both good and bad economic times, problems tend to take care of themselves, he said.

“When people accumulate sufficient funds, they take action,” Schaffner said.

Schaffner said he doesn’t think blight in commercial and residential property is bad at all in Morenci. He’s heard out-of-town guests mention how good they think the city looks, especially compared to other communities they’ve visited.

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