By Amanda Ensinger
The Franklin Township trustees are one step closer to tearing down blighted homes thanks to some hard work by township employees.
Franklin Township Administrative Assistant Melissa Schopp has been working with the trustees to clean up the township.
“We have a list of at least 80 homes that need to be torn down,” she said. “We are going through each of the homes on a case by case basis and will continue to tackle this until all these homes are gone.”
Recently the trustees had a small victory on this front when they passed a motion to tear down 3255 Dover Road and 3698 Plainview. Both of these properties were eyesores that were damaged by a recent fire.
“The owners of these homes made it clear they have no intention of paying for them to be torn down,” Schopp said. “For this case, the property will stay with the owner and the fees to tear this down will be assessed on their taxes.”
However, most of the houses the township plans to tear down the property owner will not be given back the property after the tear down has taken place.
According to Schopp, the majority of the houses on their list, the owners have not paid taxes for some time. In those instances, after the township tears down the homes they plan to sell the properties in an auction or to the neighbors of the property.
“We are finding that neighbors are interested in these properties,” she said. “The township does not want to hold onto to these properties, so we will be getting rid of them one way or another.”
The township is working with the COCIC Landbank to tear down the homes.
“Any homes that are ruled unsafe and unfit by the health department can be torn down,” Schopp said. “We give them legal notification to take care of it and if they won’t we will. If someone still doesn’t comply we can tear it down.”
The township currently had 10 other houses on the chopping block and is just waiting for final approval to proceed. However, Schopp warned that each property takes several weeks to
review, so they don’t plan to eliminate all 80 houses that have been flagged this year.
“I also want to make it clear we are only going after homes where people are not paying their taxes,” she said.
Schopp also has been working with the board on removing junk cars from resident’s property.
“We just had a resolution pass to remove three cars from township property,” she said. “We are dedicated to cleaning up the township and this is another area that needs some work.”
In order for the township to eliminate a car from a property, it must be inoperable, hasn’t moved in three years and extensive damaged. According to Schopp, township police officers are continuing to monitor the township for these cars and residents should expect to get notifications soon.