By Amanda Ensinger
Residents in a local township questioned why the there is no property maintenance code.
At a recent board meeting, Prairie Township resident Dan Stagler shared the issues he has been having with his neighbor related to trailers and cars on their property that he says are attracting rodents.
“These rats are coming into my yard because of them,” Stagler said.
While Trustee Stephen Kennedy recommended contacting zoning to issue a nuisance complaint, several residents asked why there is not a property maintenance code in the township.
“I personally do not believe in having a property maintenance code,” Kennedy said. “Governments should not have a say in how homes are kept or in people’s lives. The vote went to the residents 15 years ago and it was voted down.”
Kennedy added that the zoning department’s budget is approximately $400,000 per year and if there were a property maintenance code implemented, the department’s budget would need even more money to manage the increased flow.
“The aging population is big in the township and if it is implemented, can the aging homeowners be able to have the work done?” asked Kennedy.
Other trustees have a differing opinion on the matter.
“I don’t want to tell residents what color house, shutters, doors or how many trees to plant on their property,” said trustee Cathy Schmelzer. “However, a property maintenance code is to get things cleaned up and get properties kept up. The changes in the trash hauling will help with the rat problem, but that is only one part.”
Schmelzer added that she believes cars should not be kept in yards and broken down vehicles should be removed.
“At this time, if a car is broken down in the yard or in the backyard, we cannot do anything,” she said. “RV’s and vehicles have been in yards since I have been in high school.”
Trustee Doug Stormont said a property maintenance code should be put on the ballot.
“If they (residents) vote it in, then it should be implemented,” Stormont said.
Township resident Rod Pritchard said he believes a property maintenance code is essential to maintaining property values in the township.
“We already have rules and regulations that are in the township that are enforced, and this would be the same,” Pritchard said. “We have to control this problem with a property maintenance code and help control the rat problem.”