Code Enforcement Committee Talks Vandalism

by Kim Tewalt on June 1, 2011 at 7:05 am

Local rental property owners may soon have to register with the city of Zanesville.

Code Enforcement Committee members along with Zanesville Building Inspector, Tim Smith, gathered Wednesday afternoon, to discuss what they can do to prevent rental property owners from neglecting their homes. Smith says out of town owners are not afraid of fines given for negligence. If the policy is enacted, local rental property owners would have to register, and out of town owners would be required to have a local agent.

"That’s the biggest problem that we have." said Smith "Not being able to hold individuals from out of town accountable, because we can’t get housing code warrants served outside the city. "

Also discussed in the meeting was the issue of scrapping among vacant homes. According to Smith, they have seen a rise in the number of vacant homes that have copper wire, and other metals stolen from them. Ideas to solve this problem were tossed out at the meeting, such as heavier fines, and forfeiture of equipment and vehicles used to vandalize.

"You take a $50,000 house that’s been foreclosed on, someone goes in and scraps it and steals all the wiring and plumbing, the furnace, cabinets, whatever they can get out of there to sell." he said. "They can do a significant amount of damage, enough to where the cost of the repairs actually exceeds the value of the house ."

Smith is planning on meeting with the City Law Director to see what penalties could be put in place to deter scrapping.

There is also a possibility that grant money for the Weed Crew, which mows the yards of vacant homes, will run out at the end of June. If this happens, Smith says it could lead to even more problems.

"It’s going to create a nightmare" he said, "When you don’t mow it’s an obvious tip off that it’s vacant, then you’re looking at possible vandalism, drug activity, increased hazards for children, rodents and so forth."

Smith remains hopeful that the funding will be renewed, but they won’t know for sure until the last week in June. He says, if all else fails, they may be able to rearrange funds to utilize at least one individual, who would be able to continue mowing through August.