When a citizen asked why the Town of Payson wasn’t enforcing part of its tree code in April, Town Attorney Tim Wright realized the elderly ordinance was virtually unenforceable — and so were a host of other sections in the town code.
Now Wright is updating the entire code, a project he says could takes years to finish.
At a meeting June 6, the town council directed Wright to begin the arduous process of amending the code to follow state law.
The move comes after a citizen asked the town why it did not remove weeds or brush from vacant lots and bill the lot owner.
Under the old code, the town could place a lien on a property if the property owner didn’t pay up.
“When reviewing this question, it was determined that section 92.02 had not been updated in over 25 years and does not conform with what state law currently allows,” Wright wrote in a memo.
The town had never removed the outdated provisions from the code, making it unenforceable. Now the town can place a lien legally if needed.
“During the investigation of this issue, staff also located several other inconsistent and repetitive code provisions related to trees,” he wrote.
The town originally adopted the code in 1982 then renumbered it in the late 1990s.
As a result, several sections contradict or repeat other sections, Wright wrote.
“Some code provisions appear to have been appropriate when the town was initially incorporated in the late 1970s, but such provisions may not be appropriate and/or may impede efficient town operations.”