GARDINER — Gardiner officials are considering establishing minimum property maintenance standards through a proposed change to the city code.

The Gardiner City Council is expected to hold a public hearing Wednesday on the change and vote on the first of two reads.

While this proposal has its roots in the city’s comprehensive plan, Kris McNeill said he has been advocating for the change.

“I get a lot of calls, especially in the winter, from tenants about landlords not maintaining their properties,” said McNeill, the city’s code enforcement and health officer.

Those calls cover a range of problems, including broken windows, leaking roofs and heat that does not work.

The main goal was to have an ordinance to demonstrate to landlords the minimum standards that need be observed on properties in Gardiner, especially at rental properties.

“It does apply across the board, because we do have properties with too many unregistered vehicles and outdoor trash and rat issues and things like that,” McNeill said. “But I was very careful not to write the ordinance to make people think they have to mow their lawn to a certain length or paint their house twice a year. It’s not intended for that.”

Instead, the document sets standards for keeping properties safe and secure, without hazards to health and safety. That means, for instance, basement foundations ought to be enclosed to prevent vermin from getting in, and structures shall be kept free from rodent or insect infestation. Yards are to be kept free from accumulations of garbage and junk, and, unless otherwise allowed, no more than two unregistered vehicles would be permitted on a lot.

And all residential dwellings are required to have a functional heating system, sanitary facilities and a basic level of security, including locking doors and windows.

“It’s not a widespread issue,” McNeill said, “but there are definitely some properties around the city that regularly come up, and it would be good to have an ordinance.”

When McNeill has brought issues to property owners’ attention, they have been fixed, he said.

“The things we’re asking for are things you’d want in your own home: No leaks in the roof, locking doors, heat, bathrooms,” McNeill said.

The City Council is also expected to:

• Hear a presentation from April Hughes, coordinator of Health Maine Communities Tobacco Prevention, and Officer Samuel Quintana of the Gardiner Police Department on the effects of alcohol and marijuana.

• Conduct a public hearing and consider the first read of proposed amendments to the Land Use Code on multifamily density in the shoreland district.

• Accept a grant from Coastal Communities for a downtown master plan.

• Discuss the speed limit on Marston Road.

• Discuss small burns and campfires in the high-density residential district.

• Consider approving proposed amendments to the General Assistance ordinance.

• Conduct a public hearing and consider the first read of a moratorium for new adult-use and medical marijuana retail stores.

• Conduct a public hearing and consider granting a business license for The Bud Bar, a medical marijuana retail store.

• Conduct a public hearing and consider granting a business license for Sugar Bud Farms, an adult-use marijuana retail store.

• Consider a request from Backyard Dogs Catering hot dog cart for the use of the Gardiner Common and Waterfront Park.

• Review and discuss a project quote for repairs to Gardiner City Hall.

The Gardiner City Council meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Because of public health restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, the City Council continues to meet online via the Zoom videoconferencing platform and air its meetings simultaneously on Facebook Live through the city’s Facebook page.


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