Thursday, December 17, 2009

Letters to the Editor: Code Enforcement

Here's a copy of my letter to the editor of The Gazette, which appeared in the December 16 issue:

Council has already begun to address code enforcement

I appreciate The Gazette's explanation of the Code Enforcement legislation ("Code enforcement clog," Dec. 2) that the Montgomery County Council is currently considering. As you mention, the council has been left with the task of determining how to balance a neighborhood's deep-rooted concepts of what is acceptable with the property rights of others.

However, I would ask that you bear with me while I take a moment to further clarify one point from [a] Nov. 25 article, "Leggett blasts council for slow response on code enforcement."

It seems that the biggest problem that has been identified in both [that] article and County Executive [Ike] Leggett's press conference that led to the story is a problem that has already been resolved: on-street commercial vehicle parking. [The article] begins by stating Ms. Marilyn Piety's concerns with large trucks parking on the narrow streets of her Silver Spring neighborhood.

As you may recall, I introduced Bill 27-08 in June of 2008. That bill, which was passed in January and took effect on July 1, 2009, prohibits the parking of heavy commercial vehicles in residential neighborhoods. None of the remaining code enforcement bills relate to this issue. I would urge Ms. Piety, and others with similar concerns, to contact their local Montgomery County police district, as the police are responsible for enforcing this legislation.

I appreciate the county executive's concern and am pleased that we have already addressed what seems to be the most immediate issue for affected communities. The remaining pieces of the code enforcement legislation have wide-reaching effects, and as The Gazette rightly pointed out, they deserve careful, thorough consideration.

Mike Knapp, Germantown

The writer is member of the County Council and chairman of the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee, which oversees code enforcement issues.