Public Hearing Tonight For Proposed Loitering And Nuisance Ordinances
Published: February 20th, 2024
By: Sarah Genter

Public hearing tonight for proposed loitering and nuisance ordinances City of Norwich Common Council members discussing the proposed ordinance at the February 6 joint committees meeting. A public hearing and vote will be held at tonight's common council meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at One Court Plaza. (Photo by Sarah Genter)

NORWICH — There will be a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday evening, at the City of Norwich Common Council meeting at One Court Plaza, where community members will have the opportunity to share their thoughts on the proposed nuisance and loitering related ordinances for the city.

At a November meeting, several downtown Norwich business owners addressed council members and explained the challenges they've had with loitering on North and South Broad Street. Complaints included individual sleeping on the street or in doorways, yelling at customers as they enter a business, urinating in alleyways, selling drugs, smoking, and digging through garbage cans, among others.

The city has also had to contend with nuisance properties, which includes properties with repeated codes violations that are either health hazards or have an affect on the neighborhood or community.

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The council has spent more than a year trying different methods of outreach and enforcement to address these issues, and now are looking to a city ordinance to impose harsher punishments for repeated codes violations, and to curb loitering on downtown streets.

"This is not for your everyday code violation. This is for those repeat offenders that just do not care, and we need to change their attitude with something very different," said Alderman David Zieno. "We’ve been talking about this since early last year. There’s no more discussion that needs to be held. We’re well aware of what’s been happening, and it’s time to move forward with this."

However, during a discussion about the ordinances at the February 6 joint committees meeting, council members discussed the different avenues available to address code violations and nuisance properties, and disagreed on which was the best option.

Ultimately, council members opted to move a vote on whether or not to adopt the proposed ordinance to tonight's council meeting.

According to the city's agenda the hearings will be for taxation, loitering and a number of nuisance-related laws.

“Public Hearing – Proposed Local Law (A) of 2024 Chapter 494 Taxation – Volunteer Firefighters and Ambulance Workers Property Tax Exemption.

“Public Hearing – Proposed Ordinance (A) of 2024 Chapter 421 Public Property by adding Article III Loitering.

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“Public Hearing - Proposed Ordinance (B) of 2024 –Animals, 153-12, penalties for offenses; Brush, Grass, Weeds, 172-8, criminal proceedings, penalties for offenses; Buildings, Unsafe,178-3, procedures to compel repair or removal; Housing Standard 310-17, penalties for offenses; Property Maintenance, 409-12, penalties for offenses; Camping, 421-4, penalties for offenses,” stated the common council's agenda.