Community development committee hears all about housing code violations

Sept. 14 – ASHTABULA – City officials presented a slide presentation on code enforcement to the city council’s Community Development Committee on Wednesday.

“These are things we do year-round,” said Mary Church, assistant director of planning and community development.

Church provided the following statistics from January to August 2022:

—240 zoning permits.

—605 code enforcement violations.

—520 rental inspections.

—30 towed vehicles (since July 1, 2022).

Church showed several slides of recent housing violations, which included bags of garbage outside and inside a house, a driveway piled with tires, tall bushes and grass.

She also showed before and after photos of homes where owners have repaired their properties.

“We’re getting a good response there, but it takes time,” Church said.

For people who can’t afford to do a lot of renovations, Church asks them to come up with an action plan.

“We’re just looking for progress,” she said.

While inspecting abandoned properties, they encountered squatters.

They also found people living with cockroaches, animal droppings, trash and falling ceilings.

“We want to make sure people have a safe place to go,” she said. “Every property is different.”

The estimated deadlines for compliance are as follows:

—Tall grass and weeds — 3 to 7 days.

—Paint and siding — a plan of action.

—Unwanted vehicles — 5 days.

—Rental repairs — 30 days

—Trash disposal — 2 to 4 days.

“I can’t believe everything you’re doing,” Ward 4 council member Jodi Mills said. “What about the tire pick-up?”

Church said the city’s sanitation department takes tires, but charges a small fee.

Ward 5 Councilor Jane Haines, who also chairs the committee, asked about the barricaded homes.

“If a landlord is in a retirement home and can’t look after the property, the best thing to do is shut it down,” Church said. “It helps prevent vandalism and squatters.”

For more information, call 440-992-7118.

Norma P. Rex