Bowing to an outcry from nearly 90 residents who packed City Hall, the City Council tabled an ordinance that would have required property owners to correct existing building code violations before receiving new property improvement permits.
Some officials and residents say that remodeling and enlargement of homes in the gated, rustic city during its 50-year history have resulted in many violations. Rolling Hills does not have a code enforcement officer and relies on complaints to identify code violations.
City Manager Terrence L. Belanger described the proposed measure as a "cooperative procedure" to secure code compliance without prosecution, but critics charged that it would threaten property values and would encourage more illegal improvements by people sidestepping the permit system.
"A lot of us fear we will be held responsible for acts we are not aware of," said resident Tom Boyd, who was one of 28 residents who addressed the council Monday. He said many owners of older homes do not know what improvements were made legally or illegally.
The council had intended to hold another public hearing on the ordinance this month but tabled it indefinitely because of the strong opposition.
City Atty. Michael Jenkins told the council that state law already requires sellers to disclose the improvement history of property.