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Public forum explains "nuisance properties" in Great Falls

'nuisance properties'
Heather Rohlf
Posted at 11:12 AM, Apr 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-13 13:36:17-04

GREAT FALLS — Dozens of people now have a better understanding of how nuisance properties are dealt with in Great Falls and why.

The Great Falls Public Library hosted a public forum to present information about nuisance properties and city code on Tuesday night.

The presentation included how residents can file complaints and how the Code Enforcement officer utilizes the vehicle code, the maintenance and sanitation code, and the criminal public nuisance code.

The City website includes a Neighborhood Guide that explains:

Neighborhoods are the places where we live, shop, play and work. Like our homes and businesses, neighborhoods require care and upkeep. The City frequently hears complaints about junk cars, trash on lawns, overgrown weeds, and a variety of related problems. These issues seriously affect property values and the image of the neighborhood. The complaints often end with, “There ought to be a law…” Indeed, there is a law in place for most chronic neighborhood problems. This guide provides a quick reference for city residents, providing an overview of some of the Official Code of the City of Great Falls.

More than 30 people attended, both in person and via Zoom.

The city’s code enforcement officer, Heather Rohlf, explained what she does and then took questions.

One thing she emphasized is that the process for reporting a nuisance property is that it is complaint-driven, and a person must fill out a complaint form in order for her to investigate; a phone call or email will not suffice. You are required to provide your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address on the form.

"A lot of people are afraid of retaliation. I guarantee you I'm the one who holds all those complaints. They're in my possession until the case is closed. When that case is closed, they don't go in the public property file. They go into a filing cabinet in our office,” Rohlf said.

Rohlf was interviewed recently on radio station KGPR about nuisance properties:

Click here to see the city code that addresses nuisance properties.