Ungricht seeks code solutions

FALLS CITY — Terry Ungricht, the mayor of Falls City, said the biggest challenge of his first term was figuring out a solution to the lack of code enforcement in his city.

His second term is approaching — he’s running unopposed — and that struggle continues, but Ungricht is hoping the city is closer to a fix.

In October, the city had its attorney review its nuisance code, and Ungricht found that the Falls City City Council is authorized to review cases under the current regulations. The council is not authorized to levy fines, Ungricht noted, but that can be changed.

Ungricht said the city attorney suggested a qualified code enforcement officer should review the nuisance codes to streamline the process. He added he would prefer that the city contract with a code officer for the purposes of identifying violations, issueing citations, and presenting cases.

Ungricht said Friday he hasn’t had any luck finding an officer to help so far, and still is trying to locate the city’s former code enforcer, Bob Crowson.

“Then there’s still the argument about who will hear the cases,” Ungricht said.

He said the council seemed supportive of the idea that the council could hear the cases, but was debating how that should be structured. One suggestion was to have two councilors hear and vote on a case initially. If they disagree, the case could be taken to the full council.

Ungricht said restoring enforcement isn’t to collect fines, but to help residents understand the code and assist them in staying in compliance.

He said his goal is to have a process outlined and taking shape in the next month or two.

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