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City council member violates municipal codes; Menifee approves urgent ordinance regarding land management
Friday, August 30th, 2013
Issue 35, Volume 17.
It was Councilman Tom Fuhrman who voted against the sudden ordinance.
A notice of violation was brought to the City of Menifee by the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board. The violation was brought against Fuhrman, regarding his 37-acre ranch.
The notice dated July 31 and addressed to City Manager Robert Johnson violations discovered during a June 24 inspection of Fuhrmanís Wooden Nickel Ranch. The violations were warned to the city.
Fuhrman argued that he wasnít officially notified by a certified letter.
"Youíre a sitting council member, youíre an owner of this property, and this violation occurred on your ranch for running commercial horse boarding operation on the day they inspected your property. You had 30 animals out there, well beyond than what youíre authorized to have by ordinance," Mayor Scott Mann told Fuhrman. "And to say that you didnít know about this is wrong."
The notice revealed "about six to eight inches of horse manure spread over a large area.
Runoff from this area flows into the fork (of water drainage) that runs through the site," according to a report from Menifee 24/7.
The Menifee Municipal Code explained that keeping any more than 10 animals poses a riskof contamination.
The ordinance will help to also minimize fly breeding and wind induced pollutants from stored manure.
There were 10 speakers Wednesday night voicing their opinions on the ordinance; some even sympathized with Fuhrman for the sudden actions the council was taking. According to the city, their reason for acting so quickly was because they were under order.
The July 31 notice also requested that city officials enact an ordinance regarding control of horse manure to ensure compliance with storm water ordinances.
If the council failed to pass an ordinance regulating the maintenance of manure Wednesday night, the city would continue to be in violation, according to City Attorney Julie Biggs.
The city would face the possibility of $10,000 in fines per day, and if nothing is done over a period of time, the Water Board could fine the city $25,000 per day.
"Tonight is an essential step," Biggs said.
The ordinance approved Wednesday night requires that manure must be removed from "stalls, paddocks, arenas, corrals and other livestock keeping areas on a regular basis," at least weekly, from property where 10 or more animals are housed.
Manure must be stored in approved containers and the potential runoff of pollutants must be minimized, according to Menifee 24/7.
Deputy Mayor Wallace Edgerton said because this violation was against a fellow council member, it made the legality of it complicated.
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