Dubuque Considers Prohibiting Additional Items in Public Nuisance Ordinance

by Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

DUBUQUE, Iowa - A proposed addition to a Dubuque city ordinance, has two neighbors on opposite sides of the fence.

Like most cities there's already an ordinance that keeps people from storing junk in their yards. But the city says some of the things they consider a public nuisance aren't actually included in their current ordinance. That's why they're thinking about adding a few items.

Tucked away in a small north-end neighborhood, Greg Sharkey says he's in the process of renovating his old house. Meanwhile he stores a lot of stuff in his yard.

Sharkey said, "It's building materials that I plan on using. "

But right next door, Dave Grothe disagrees. He says Sharkey's stuff is "junk". Grothe calls it unsafe and an eyesore.

Grothe said, "It's hard on the property values. If you go to sell your house it's going to run it down. "

City leaders say issues like this are happening all over the city. That's why they say they're filling in some loopholes in the law's language.

Assistant City Manager Cindy Steinhauser said, "it allows us to get in there a little bit earlier because we don't have to wait until the very extreme if we identify as unsanitary or not. "

The ordinance change would prohibit things like upholstered furniture, appliance parts and building materials from being stored in a home owner's yard.

So is that fair? Once again the north end neighbors disagree.

"They keep harassing me and discriminating against me, " said Sharkey.

"I already think it's a good ordinance and I applaud the city for doing it," said Grothe.

The city council will make the decision on the ordinance change at its Monday night meeting.
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