Thursday, April 17th, 2014

City council wants more emphasis on code enforcement

By Michelle Dupler

Staff Writer

At least a couple of Reynoldsburg City Council members don’t like the way some businesses in the city are letting their properties go.

As part of a discussion about code enforcement in the city at the Sept. 16 Safety Committee meeting, Councilmen Mel Clemens and Scott Barrett said they’d like to see some attention paid to commercial properties with overgrown weeds, debris and other issues.

“It goes full circle on our sense of pride for this community and putting our best face out there,” Barrett said.

Barrett brought up the idea of stronger code enforcement in Reynoldsburg at a July 1 committee meeting at which he provided council members with pictures of residential properties with yards that were overgrown, littered with trash or contained junk cars.

The council since has opted to send a 1 percent income tax increase to the November ballot with the possibility part of the money could be used to hire two additional code enforcement officers — doubling the number of people on the streets seeking out nuisance violations.

Service Department Director Nathan Burd said the two existing officers have their hands full, but with four officers the city could pay more attention to both residential and commercial properties.

“We could get double (the work) done,” Burd said.

The complaints that come in primarily are from residential areas, but Burd said he recognizes commercial properties need some focus as well, and he talked to his staff this summer about paying more attention to violations by businesses.

Clemens said commercial properties in Reynoldsburg tend to look worse than those in neighboring cities such as Gahanna or Westerville and make the city’s entrance points look unattractive.

“I don’t understand why our commercial people do not want to take care of their properties,” Clemens said. “We have commercial property that looks terrible.”

Burd said city staffers are trying to better educate the public about how the city code requires them to maintain their properties.

“We’re trying to do proactive things about getting the word out,” Burd said.

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