Dear Editor,

At the Feb. 19 meeting of the (Pioche) Town Advisory Board, in the absence of a properly agendized item, the County’s Director of Planning appeared and made a statement during public comment, as follows: He reported the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners voted against an ABATEMENT ORDINANCE that was proposed for the County to clean things up. The County would like to send out notices or letters to try to get property owners to volunteer to do a clean-up.

He stated he would like to use Pioche as a guinea pig, in terms of a community clean-up and that he can get a few bins to put on the property if property owners allow it; he can cover the cost of the bins and the disposal and asked if the Town would cover the cost of an inmate crew to assist in clean-up. He stated they can only afford to do (1) or (2) addresses and that properties that are safety and fire hazards need to be top priority.

The Commission had charged the Director with getting input from the towns. Sorry to say the Pioche Advisory Board failed to involve the residents in this “Voluntary Clean-up” process and failed to appoint a committee to responsibly solicit the resident’s opinions. Instead, they chose to allow the Chamber Chairman and Planning Director to act as the CEP and decide which residents would be included in the alleged clean-up.

At the November, 2018, commission meeting, during discussion of “non-conforming” properties, the director told the board that letters could be sent out with utility bills. This proposal never made it to the advisory board or was not discussed in public and did not occur. The “committee” did not wish to include every resident in this “voluntary clean-up” due to costs??? It is important to note that no properties were targeted in Ursine, Caselton, the Vincent Developments or the Bortolo Road area.

As reported in the Record On March 13, the Chamber was “waiting for the Advisory Board to give its approval for the citations to be affirmed.”

On March 19 the Record reported the Director “emphasized that this is a project intended to get people to “Voluntarily clean up their property without having to rely on the district attorney or the sheriff’s office.”

On March 21, (5) letters were sent to targeted residents on County letterhead stating this was a “1st Notice” of the “community clean-up.” It is noted the Chamber also sent out letters to residents, acting as the Beautification Committee.

During a discussion with the Director on May 6, he indicated to me “We are going to do this whether you like it or not.” It is my understanding that, in the absence of an abatement ordinance, the County cannot fine or encumber private residences through code enforcement.

In my opinion, the “CEP Committee” actions fall somewhere between a witch hunt and Gestapo tactics.

Lincoln County residents need to be willing to defend their rural life-style and property rights.

Carol White