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Iowa City moves on disorderly houses ordinance

BY NATE OTJEN | SEPTEMBER 05, 2012 6:30 AM

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The Iowa City City Council approved the first consideration of an ordinance Tuesday night that, if approved, would alter the way police officers cite tenants of a disorderly house in Iowa City.

Councilors approved the ordinance on a 7-0 vote.

The ordinance had passed its first test at the City Council meeting on Aug. 21, but the council made some changes, so it was up for first consideration again.

The ordinance makes a disorderly house a municipal infraction that will allow the police to issue a civil citation to all of the tenants involved. The ordinance also provides that having a disorderly house can be a basis for a rental sanction.

Currently, police officers cannot issue a criminal complaint if no one will answer the door. The level of penalty varies on police discrepancy.

City Councilor Jim Throgmorton thinks it’s crucial that the wording in this ordinance be “clearly articulated in ordinary language.” City Councilors said they will work to make this information clarified to the public.

The ordinance is now up for a second consideration at the next City Council meeting. It takes three votes to pass an ordinance.


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