General Overview – City of Casper (COC) Ordinance #13-18, the International Property Maintenance Code
1) Ordinance #13-18, the entire International Property Maintenance Code, passed the first of three readings by the Casper City Council on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. The vote was 5 to 4, with Humphrey, Huber, Hopkins, Powell and Pacheco passing it, and Morgan, Walsh, Laird and Johnson voting against. This ordinance was passed with several other Codes that the State mandates, via the Wyoming Fire Marshall’s office and the Fire Council. Second Reading of Ordinance #13-18 is expected to occur on July 3, 2018 – regular council meetings are every two weeks.
2) The WY Fire Marshall’s office adopts various codes necessary for fire and public safety, all of which are mandatory for all WY municipalities to adopt and comply with. The Wyoming Fire Marshall’s office has NOT adopted the International Property Maintenance Code; the IPM Code is not necessary because the separate mandated codes already provide the appropriate fire and safety laws for WY citizens. Thus the COC is not mandated to adopt the IPM Code, nor is there any deadline that the COC must implement this or comply with. Wyoming State Statute § 35-9-121 Local enforcement, is what COC is drawing their authority from. Cheyenne has adopted only Chapters 1-2 of the IPM Code.
3) The COC has provided only one copy of the International Property Maintenance (IPM) Code for the public to view in person, which is available at the City Clerk’s office during City business hours. The COC does not provide online access to the code, nor do they provide paper copies. The IPM Code is strictly copyrighted by the International Code Council Inc. (ICC), and a person can only legally obtain a copy of their own by purchasing it ($30 to $43). In 2001, a citizen in Texas (Peter Veeck), bought the code and then posted it to his website so that local residents could access and actually read the entire code. After Mr. Veeck posted the IPM Code, he was sued by ICC with a multitude of copyright infringements (Veeck vs. SBCCI No. 99-40632). A local citizen has found an internet link that the IPM Code can be viewed at, but it is not certain if the purchased code is more detailed and extensive. It can be found at: https://codes.iccsafe.org/public/document/IPMC2018
4) Any governmental entities that initiate adoption of the IPM Code are violating their Oath of Office, as it is a colossal and egregious overreach of power and authority that violates a significant number of Federal and State Constitutional protections, primarily (but not limited to) the 1st, 4th and 5th Amendments of the Constitution of the United States and the following from Article 1 of the Constitution of the State of Wyoming: Section 1, Power inherent in the people; Section 2, Equality of All; Section 4, Security against search and seizure; Section 5, Imprisonment for Debt; Section 6, Due process of law; Section 7, No absolute arbitrary power; Section 14, Bail; cruel and unusual punishment; Section 15, Penal Code to be humane; Section 32, Eminent domain; Section 33, Compensation for property taken.
5) The 2018 International Property Maintenance Code by International Code Council Inc. begins by explaining that “all provisions of the code shall apply to all existing residential and nonresidential structures and all existing premises…” The word “shall” is restrictive language that embodies the rest of the IPM Code that pertains specifically to both inside and outside of our homes and properties. (Legal/legislative/law language that uses the word “shall” – means ‘will’ or ‘must’. When the word “may” appears it is less restrictive and generally means it is somewhat optional, depending on circumstances.) Stated another way, the IPM Code says that all of the code provisions must apply to all existing residential and nonresidential structures and all existing premises (indoors included). During the 6/19 Council meeting, Councilman Hopkins commented on this legal language incorrectly when he said that the Code “has less ‘shall’ and ‘will’ and a lot more latitude for the people making the inspections”.
6) The 2018 International Property Maintenance Code by International Code Council Inc. ‘authorizes and directs Code Enforcement officials to enforce the code’. The code provides that code officials “shall have the authority to render interpretations” of the code, and whenever they *have “reasonable cause to believe” there are any code violations, “the code official is authorized to enter a structure”. Additionally, “If entry is refused, the code official shall have recourse to the remedies provided by law to secure entry.” In other words, if you refuse to let them in they will show up with the police to get in. Lastly, in a multitude of documented cases, imposed fines are compounded daily; liens are made against people homes; some homes are condemned and their utilities are disconnected; others have been demolished. *NOT probable cause, which is the constitutional standard.
For real examples that have happened to real people in their homes and to their property:
Go to youtube.com and type “property maintenance code enforcement warrantless search” in the search bar.
To see/read lawsuits, go to https://law.justia.com/ and type “property maintenance code”
To educate concerned citizens, below are paraphrased examples (revised 6/26/18) of the 2018 International Property Maintenance Code by International Code Council Inc.:
- To prevent deterioration of land and gathering of stagnant water (mosquito/pest prevention), property grades MUST be maintained inside or outside any building
- All concrete sidewalks, pathways, stairs, driveways, parking areas MUST be free of any decline or deterioration, including cracks, spalling, and heaving
- All wood fences, wood porches, wood decks, wood balconies, external wood hand railings and external wood trim/ doors/ window frames MUST be weather protected with paint or other protective products. Any untreated, or chipping, flaking or peeling paint on external wooden structures is a violation. [Wood siding is uncertain]
- All private homes, detached garages, sheds, or other private out-buildings, as well as public structures MUST not have the external surface altered in any way that disrupts the uniformity of color or surface texture, such as any pattern, marking, carving or graffiti
- Unused vehicles that are in need of repair (inoperable) or are unlicensed MUST not be parked anywhere on or in any premises. Dismantled vehicles in a state of being repaired on the premises must be approved.
- Between specific dates of the year that the City of Casper will mandate, every window and door of any bedroom, kitchen, or any other area where food is handled MUST have a screen to keep insects out. Pre-approved air-curtains and specialized fans can be substituted.
- Mandated living room space cannot be less than 120 square feet. Mandated bedroom space cannot be less than 70 square feet. Mandated bedroom space for multiple people cannot be less than 50 square feet per person.
Violations of the above examples present reasonable cause (based on personal interpretations by officials) to provoke a code official to demand inspection and entry on and into your private property, including inside your home. Also, any property maintenance complaint by a neighbor automatically presents reasonable cause. Also, some of the code applies to renters as well, where provisions for clean and sanitary requirements are described.
Read the entire code and ask yourself if there is a single building/property in Casper that is not already in violation of the IPM Code! https://codes.iccsafe.org/public/document/IPMC2018
The City of Casper has been seeking solutions for “problem rental properties”. The IPM Code however is an outrageous overreach that will affect all of us, but most especially the poor, infirmed and disabled. City Council commented that none of our Code Enforcement would act on many of these things – then why pass this as existing law?! This proposed solution is also a shockingly unacceptable burden on law enforcement. WE need to try to help them find a better solution that is of the least restrictive means. Casper residents should make it a top priority to vigorously oppose this ordinance and offer their own ideas for solutions for problem properties. Call the City Manager to get on the public comment schedule for the next City Council meeting: 235-8224. Go to the COC website for meeting dates, times and location at http://www.casperwy.gov/.
Educate yourself on your Constitutional Rights.
Link to Wyoming Constitution: http://wyoleg.gov/statutes/compress/title97.docx
Link to United States Constitution: https://usconstitution.net/const.html
Make multiple copies of these pages and share them with ALL of your Casper family and friends
Editor’s Note: Above revised for clarity, June 26, 2018
In the below document, gray boxes contain citizen observations, and red lines are to draw attention to pertinent text.