INDIAN ROCKS BEACH -- Indian Rocks Beach means business on illegal and unsavory conduct within its borders and has adopted a law that puts teeth in the enforcement of the law.
Specifically, IRB's Felony Nuisance Abatement Ordinance zeroes in on drug, prostitution, stolen property and street gang activity.
The City Commission, in an ordinance adopted June 28, has established a Felony Nuisance Abatement Board.
An advisory letter signed by Mayor Bill Ockunzzi to Sheriff Jim Coats said, in part, "The City Commission is serious about protecting and preserving our small town atmosphere, residential neighborhoods and tourist amenities."
Ockunzzi pointed out in the letter that the ordinance is "intended to supplement traditional law enforcement measures."
Besides establishing the nuisance abatement board, the ordinance sets forth the procedures for reporting incidents and the process to be undertaken by the board in pursuing complaints.
Complaints, according to the ordinance, can be brought by any employee, officer, resident or property owner of the city. The complaint originally is in the form of an informal complaint.
Once received, the informal complaint is vetted by the city attorney's office "for legal sufficiency."
Once accepted, a hearing is held by the abatement of a nuisanace board. The ordinance lays out all the specifics necessary in the process.
Once formal hearings are held, all evidence heard and findings that an unlawful public nuisance exists, the board can close the site of the violations for up to a year, take measures to prohibit and further such incidents and assess fines.
Of course, where such violations violate Florida criminal statutes, the Sheriff's Office, which provides police services to Indian Rocks Beach, can prefer cases to the State Attorney's office for prosecution.
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