Township to tackle nuisance properties


By Amanda Amsel
Staff Writer

Despite being short-staffed, the Franklin Township Road Department continues to maintain the township even as Mother Nature throws everything at them.

“We are in a pretty good spot right now, however, this weather has not done us any favors,” said Jim Stevens, Franklin Township Road Department supervisor. “With all the rain we have gotten, we have had to deal with flooding, not to mention the nuisance properties.”

According to Stevens, the department has sent out 98 letters to property owners stating they need to clean up their properties and have mowed at least 43 properties.

“We are already projecting we are going to maintain more properties than we did last year and with a shorter staff,” Stevens said. “Right now, we are ahead of schedule and that is amazing considering everything we have on our plate right now.”

In 2014, the township abated 86 properties and it expects that number to  increase this year.
In the winter, the road department warned township residents it may take longer than normal to maintain nuisance properties, but so far that has not been the case. The department only has three staff members and one supervisor; last year it had five staff members counting Stevens.

One thing Stevens said is helping the department to maintain nuisance properties is that the rules have changed allowing the township to contact residents sooner. In the past, the township could not notify the homeowner until their grass was 12 inches high. Now, it can notify them when it is eight inches high, giving the township an opportunity to address the issue sooner.

“The facts are we have a lot of repeat offenders,” Stevens said. “We have a lot of rentals and abandoned houses and those are the majority of the offenders. I have some people we have been moving their lawn for six years.”

At a recent board meeting, several residents asked Stevens if he had considered hiring someone part-time to help the township, however he said there is no money for it.

“We have already done our budget for the year and that is just not factored into it,” he said. “It would be great to have some extra seasonal help, however we just can’t afford it and the trustees have repeatedly said we need to live within our means.”

If you have a nuisance property in your neighborhood that you would like to report to Franklin Township, visit

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