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NPR pursues first cases under nuisance ordinance

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NEW PORT RICHEY — A special magistrate is scheduled to hear Wednesday the first two cases under New Port Richey’s nuisance abatement ordinance, which was passed last year.

The city issued hearing notices to owners of Travel Inn, 7532 U.S. 19, and residences at 6109 Georgia Ave.

The affidavit for Travel Inn lists four violations between Sept. 10 and Sept. 23. Cases involved: a woman arrested for possession of cocaine; a man arrested for possession of cocaine, paraphernalia and the synthetic drug know as spice; a man charge with possession of a controlled substance; and a woman arrested for possession of cocaine and six counts of possession of a controlled substance.

The affidavit for the Georgia Avenue site lists three violations between Dec. 12 and Dec. 19. The cases involved possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana and an arrest of an occupant on a charge of cultivation of marijuana.

The city’s special magistrate, attorney Joseph A. Poblick, is scheduled to hear the cases Wednesday.

The ordinance allows fines up to $500 a day for any repeat violations.

The nuisance abatement ordinance became a top priority for Councilman Jeff Starkey in 2013.

“It’s a huge, huge step,” Starkey said at a June city council meeting at which the regulations began taking shape.

Nuisance abatement would send a message that New Port Richey no longer will harbor addicts, prostitutes or criminals, Starkey believes.

After the ordinance was finalized, city officials had to hire several attorneys to act as special magistrates.

“The biggest complaint I get is crime in the city,” Mayor Bob Consalvo had said during an April 23 meeting. About half of the phone calls, emails and other correspondence that he receives comes from residents concerned about crime, the mayor estimates.

Last month, Consalvo said the number of complaints about crime seems to be declining as the city took more enforcement steps.

The crime issue took on even greater urgency after an August 2013 incident in which a bullet was fired into a house in the 6800 block of Grand Boulevard. It was unclear if the shot was fired by accident or deliberately, authorities said.

corth@suncoastnews.com

(727) 815-1068

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