After hearing comments at three public meetings about its proposed residential rental housing inspection plan, the city is adjusting its proposal. City staff explained the plan changes at the Aug. 17 city commission meeting.
According to Twila Hight, City Finance Officer, two primary modifications have been made to the proposed plan.
“Originally, we were looking at a licensing and inspection program for our residential rental units in Pierre,” said Hight. “After hearing from stakeholders, we’re modifying the licensing piece to a registration system and simplifying the fee structure.”
Despite the changes, the city is confident it can still accomplish its goal of making sure rental housing is meeting basic health, life, and safety standards.
“I don’t want us to lose sight of the motivation for this program,” said Commissioner Vona Johnson. “We know we have some rental units out there that are unsafe for habitation. The program is designed to bring those units into compliance and keep renters safe.”
Mayor Steve Harding added to the discussion saying that the program adjustments were made at the request of landlords.
“Property owners were by far our most vocal stakeholders at the public meetings, but we heard from a variety of other stakeholders offline,” said Mayor Harding. “We have a lot of community support to move this program forward.”
The commission set a Sept. 14 public hearing for the ordinance change to establish the registration and inspection program. The hearing will be held at 5:30 p.m. during the commission’s regularly scheduled meeting.
Those interested in the program or the updated plan are encouraged to visit cityofpierre.org. From the Rental Registration and Inspection link, people can find a program overview, a draft inspection checklist, a draft ordinance, as well as Frequently Asked Questions about the proposed program.