The countywide cleanup campaign
will be launched Oct 14. The effort has come about due to the
accumulating number of complaints about junk in people's yards.
County zoning officer Budd Miller said that he has a list of
complaints that he is ready to act on.
The county zoning officer, the
sheriff's department and the health department are all authorized to
assess a property and lodge complaints against a property owner.
Miller has been in contact with the
states attorney's office about prosecution against those who do not
willingly comply with requests. Failure to comply with a first
notice will result in a complaint filed with the states attorney's
office. Then a formal notice will be issued. If given a formal
notice, the owner will have 14 days to abate the problem. Formal
notices will be submitted to the states attorney's office beginning
If the matter is taken to court, fines could run a
property owner $100 to $500.
Hopefully, people will clean up
somewhat on their own and we won't have to go that route, Miller
said. He has had a couple of people respond well to requests to
clean up recently. One of the responses that he said he really
appreciated came from a mobile home owner living on a pond. The
property and home were getting unsightly, and the owners were given
an informal notice.
The people called him and said, "If
we paint it this weekend and clean it up, will you leave us alone?"
Miller said he responded, "Ya, if
you make it presentable." And they did it that weekend.
"We're not hard-nosed; we just don't
want a bunch of junk laying around," Miller said.
He said that he has gotten real
positive feedback from people who have heard about the planned
cleanup, "People want this." Some of the township governments have
been calling Miller also, wanting him to do this.
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in this article]
Miller supplied an example of a
community sticking together and getting the job done. A Chestnut
resident challenged whether his stuff was junk. The Zoning Board of
Appeals called a public hearing and the residents really turned out,
Miller said. Chestnut really got behind it, and the board was able
to say, "No, it is junk."
What qualifies as a nuisance or
Some things are pretty obvious,
others maybe not so obvious to the owner. The county ordinance
specifies what constitutes a violation. The following is an
- Cars that are not running will
need to be moved. If there's rusty, leaking oil, it needs to be
- Abandoned mobile homes.
- Unlicensed dumping of refuse.
- Refuse from numerous sources.
- Quantities of refuse that cause a
smell, spontaneous combustion, draw rodents or threaten public
- Animal wastes (other than farm)
are to be collected and stored in a fly-tight container.
- Garbage is to be stored in
- Abandoned refrigerators must have
- Untreated sewage.
- Out-of-control grasses, shrubbery
or noxious weeds that may threaten public health.
- Any condition as deemed by the
enforcement officer that threatens public health.
Who is affected by this?
All unincorporated townships. That
is everyone outside the villages of Broadwell, Elkhart, Emden,
Hartsburg, Latham, Middletown and the cities of Atlanta, Lincoln and