Plain City residents will soon see stricter consequences for not maintaining their property.
Village council passed an ordinance Monday evening that would amend the existing code dealing with weed and litter control within the village limits.
“The current ordinance doesn’t allow us, procedurally, to abate overgrown properties as quickly as I think most everyone in the community would like us to,” said Village Administrator Nathan Cahall. “What’s before council is a more streamlined version.”
He said the new code would still give residents a sufficient amount of time to comply but would allow the village to take action faster on “repeat offenders.”
Regulations under the newly amended ordinance have residents cutting their grass when it exceeds eight inches.
The zoning inspector will issue violations when noticed on the first and third Tuesday of the months of May through October.
The current process includes posting a public notice in the newspaper annually and when the first offense occurs, the property owner receives a certified letter from the village.
If the owner doesn’t return their compliance slip or the grass doesn’t get mowed after seven days, village crews will mow the property and the owner is billed.
“What the streamline process does is that after that first violation, the property owner is provided with that notification and for any subsequent violations, they’re given a one-day notice on the property and then the village comes in and mows the grass,” Cahall said. “Unfortunately, we have several property owners—some of them are landlord properties—where they just prefer to use Plain City.”
He said the hope is that this makes the enforcement process faster and more effective and accommodates neighboring property owners.
Some questions were raised about how the new process would affect elderly residents or those who are unable to maintenance their yard on a regular basis.
Cahall said the goal is “not to have convictions, but have compliance” and that the village would work with residents to get properties maintained.
Additionally, village codes do allow for maintenance options such as composting in town but limits the contents to “coffee grounds, egg shells, fruits or vegetables, landscape and plant materials or garden materials, and manure from herbivores.”
The ordinance states the site would have to be in the rear of the property and can’t be wider than 16 feet or taller than four feet.
The new ordinance also deals with litter management on properties and along streets.
Cahall said the village is using a “catch-all” term with regard to litter but says it is defined as any “trash, junk and debris.”
“We’ve had some issues where residents will either leave garbage on their front porches or even leave spilled items along their properties when they take the trash out,” said Cahall. “This process will hopefully encourage folks to contact the village when a situation occurs and we’ll will work to clear it up.”
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