By Mary Hladky
Mark Stahlbaum has a pigeon problem.
His neighbor feeds pigeons. The free meals draw ever more pigeons and they now number about 165. They poop on his house and cars, cause damage and create a smelly mess.
“I am horrified by what I have had to deal with over the past couple of years,” he told City Council members on Nov. 14.
Stahlbaum, who lives on Spanish River Boulevard, asked for a city ordinance that prohibits the feeding of pigeons and fines violators. “My neighbor is the shining example of why this ordinance is necessary,” he said.
After hearing from Stahlbaum before the meeting, Mayor Scott Singer asked city staff to draft one. Staff noted that people also are feeding other wildlife and expanded the ordinance to include prohibitions and fines for feeding ducks, geese, rodents, squirrels, raccoons, possums, iguanas and any other wildlife.
But what seemed like a routine matter quickly hit roadblocks at the council meeting.
Council members asked, what would this mean for people who feed feral cats? Why draft an ordinance based on one resident’s problem? How could the city effectively enforce a wildlife ordinance? Did the city need a general nuisance ordinance instead? If so, is it possible to list every thing that could be a nuisance?
And so, the wildlife ordinance was scrapped.
But a related matter lives on. In the course of drafting the ordinance, staff noticed that the city had enacted unrelated prohibitions but never had established fines that violators had to pay.
The prohibitions include the sale or distribution of polystyrene foam products on city property, use of balloons and confetti in outdoor areas on city property, construction activity occurring outside the specified times of day, and bulk and vegetative waste being placed outside of required collection times or not in required areas.
Council members appeared willing to vote on a resolution that sets fine amounts, but delayed acting until certain wording changes were made.