The newly-formed Haines Code Review Commission meets for the first time Tuesday. The commission will address dozens of violations in borough code that many residents see as excessive.
In 2015, a proposed minor offenses ordinance alarmed some Haines residents. The ordinance was an effort to streamline enforcement and appeals of low-level infractions. But it ended up spotlighting the long list of the small violations that exist in borough code.
At public meetings, residents voiced concern about the borough over-regulating its citizens.
“It’s commonly known as creep, when you’re talking about the loss of your freedom,” said resident Bill Kurz in July 2015. “It’s just a little bit here, a little bit there and now we’ve got this big long list.”
A few months later, the assembly passed the ordinance, despite protests from residents that it still contained an excessive amount of violations.
But the offenses couldn’t be removed from the ordinance because they are dictated by borough code. That’s where the code review commission comes into play.
Last June, the assembly voted to form an advisory commission to address antiquated or unnecessary regulations. At the time, Mayor Jan Hill said she looked forward to a cleaner code.
“It’s going to be thorough,” said Hill. “My hope is when we get done, we’ll get rid of those conflicts and clarify things aren’t clear, and possibly some of the code is outdated and (parts) need to be removed.”
Twelve residents submitted letters of interest to serve of the commission. In September, the assembly approved the mayor’s appointment of seven members. They are Mike Denker, Carolann Wooton, Don Tuner Jr., Daniel Humphrey, Jerry Lapp, Deborah Vogt, and Cynthia ‘CJ’ Jones. Margaret Friedenauer is the assembly liaison.
The committee will make recommendations about the slew of violations in borough code that caused such an outcry from the community.
The first meeting is Tuesday at 6 p.m. in assembly chambers. The agenda includes electing a chair and creating a meeting schedule.