Vacant homes causing trouble in Reynoldsburg

Stronger code enforcement is needed throughout the city of Reynoldsburg, urged representatives of the Quarry Park Homeowner’s Association.

Brett Baxter and Doug Lahman came to the June 9 meeting of Reynoldsburg City Council with a plea for improved code enforcement city-wide.

"Houses are starting to have grass that is knee-high because people are losing their homes," Baxter said.

He urged the city to help keep property values high by being proactive about the issue of vacant, foreclosed homes in the community and create a plan to keep grass trimmed in the summer, and water shut off in the winter.

"We need to keep going out and visibly check on these homes," he said.

Baxter said he is also concerned that residents don’t know who to contact to report such issues. He cited an example of a home where a trailer was parked on the grass, which the city prohibits. A neighbor called the police department about the matter, Baxter said, and was told it was okay for that to occur. He urged the mayor to put code enforcement information on the city’s Web site and also help the police department get residents to the correct information.

Lahman said he has contacted the code enforcement office about a home that has excessive mulch and weeds, which he believes could be a fire hazard and/or serve as a home for rodents.

"We’ll give them (code enforcement) the opportunity to check on it," commented William Hills, president of council. "It certainly is a different way to take care of your yard than grass."

Also during the public comment portion of the meeting, Reynoldsburg resident Steve DeBolt, the city’s former safety/service director, recalled his first impression of the Reynoldsburg community.

"When I drove down Main Street for the first time, I said to myself, ‘It looks like a nice town to live in,’ " he said. "Being here, living here, having the opportunity to work here …. It’s been a privilege."

He said one thing that has been waning in the city in recent months has been respect.

"Sometimes in human interactions I think we forget how to treat each other," he said. "If we all can live up to that…I think this city will be the city it was when I first came here."

Other Reynoldsburg news

•Approved legislation allowing City Auditor Richard Harris to work with FEMA in processing paperwork for reimbursement to the city for snow removal from March 7-9. FEMA is expected to reimburse the city $27,000 for costs related to overtime, salt and administrative time related to the storm.

•Heard the first reading of legislation for the 2009 tax budget. A public hearing on the matter will be held at 7:15 p.m. June 23.

•Amended various sections of the stormwater service fee crediting mechanism and accepted various easements from Distribution Land Corp. and Tata Corp.


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