JONESTOWN — A Jonestown citizen wrote a formal letter to mayor Vivian Burnett about daily nuisances that take place in the parking lot of the Deer Park area.
Burnett read the letter at Monday’s city council meeting and that led to discussion about putting together an ordinance in the near future to prohibit loitering, disturbing the peace and littering.
“These issues are ongoing occurrences, which either take place prior to, during and after business hours,” said Burnett reading the letter a citizen wrote her.
The letter alleged there was constant loitering with individuals sitting or standing outside parked vehicles. It also claimed citizens were disturbing the peace with loud music and talking and reckless driving. It also claimed alcoholic beverages, empty drink cans and other bottles were being left in the Deer Park parking lot.
The citizen said there seemed to be no solution.
“Therefore, I would greatly appreciate your assistance in addressing this revolving matter,” said Burnett reading the letter. “I would hope that this concern would be seen and approached as a collective matter with us as a community in mind.”
Board attorney Derek Hopson said an ordinance would not be needed if there was criminal activity.
“If it’s criminal, it’s already in place,” Hopson said.
Burnett said the parking lot is full of cars.
“If you are in close proximity to all this stuff going on, some of it is going to end up in your yard,” Burnett said.
She said if loud music is two doors down, it would probably keep someone awake at night.
“I can see it being a problem,” Burnett said. “Are we going to be able to work that out tonight? No, but it was brought to my attention and I could see it being a concern.”
Burnett said the council would have to think outside of the box and talk to business owners because the problem is in a residential area.
“According to the young lady, she wakes up with it and she goes to bed with it,” Burnett said. “When my rights start impeding up on yours, there’s a problem.”
“Your rights begin when mine end,” said Hopson in agreement.
Council member LaShasa Griffin asked what was already in place.
“Do we have an ordinance in place that says no one can be in these locations when hours of operation are going?” Griffin said.
“I doubt that there is an ordinance to that effect,” Burnett replied.
Evelyn Veasley, who has a business in Jonestown and regularly comes to meetings, spoke.
“There are ordinances that say things about loud noise, loitering and curfew,” Veasley said. “You’ve all got ordinances. They’ve just got to be enforced.”
Police chief Rico Smith is prepared to enforce any ordinances passed.
“If you want that enforced, go ahead and adopt your ordinance and we can get it done,” Smith said.
Burnett is unsure of all the ordinances the city has.
“We have an ordinance book. It’s missing pages out of it,” Burnett said.
“I got copies of the ordinances when I first got here in 2007 unless they changed,” Veasley replied.
“They’ve got to be enforced.”
Veasley said she would provide ordinances she has prior to the November meeting.
In other business:
• The council also approved the hiring of police officer Eddie Earl part-time for $12 an hour. The Jonestown police department now has three officers. Smith is the chief and Stephen James is the other officer.
Smith was the lone officer in the department when Burnett took office in 2020.
• Jonestown will have a Halloween fest from 1 to 5 p.m. October 30. Setup for all booths will begin at 11 a.m. that day on Main Street-Uptown Jonestown.