Hancock zoning issues begin to resolve

HANCOCK – Issues with out-of-zone apartment buildings are being resolved on Prospect Street in Hancock through several actions aimed at fixing the immediate problem and preventing future issues.

A number of concerned citizens wrote letters to the council in late September and early October complaining of a large number of vehicles parked at two Prospect Street rental homes. Photos of the properties taken in 2016 compared with recent photos taken by the concerned citizens confirmed that large numbers of vehicles without adequate parking had lead to degradation of the grounds.

Both homes are located on the 900 block, which is in an area zoned for single-family residences. Hancock zoning ordinances and rental forms limit the number of unrelated persons that can live in rentals in single-family and two-family residential zones, though they say this is often difficult for the city to enforce.

The city sent letters to landlord Brian Kangas, giving him until the end of October to resolve the situation. During the October City Council meeting, Acting City Manager Mary Babcock reported that Kangas was “receptive” and that he had told the council that some of the tenants were violating their lease agreements.

“I don’t want to say much other than to apologize to the neighbors and say that the problem has been resolved,” Kangas said in a brief phone interview.

At the Oct. 16 City Council Meeting, Prospect Street resident Mark Hoffman confirmed that the number of cars regularly seen outside of the residences had gone down but still indicated more than the allowed number of persons were residing there.

The issue of enforcing zoning in Hancock also came up in the October Planning Commission meeting. There, members discussed enacting annual registration fees for area landlords to raise funds for the hiring of a part-time code enforcement officer.

On Nov. 1, a Prospect Street resident, who asked not to be identified, confirmed in a phone interview that residents had been seen moving out of the houses.