Middletown code enforcement sweep underway; help available for cleanup and repairs

Credit: Castle, Clayton

Credit: Castle, Clayton

Over the next two months, code specialists will sweep Middletown, going house-to-house and doing outdoor inspections.

The Code Enforcement District Sweep by city inspectors will run through Sept. 13.

During each two-week period, all five code enforcement specialists will be concentrated in one district to do comprehensive house-by-house outdoor inspections. The specialists will notify property owners and occupants of violations found and include educational information concerning code enforcement tips and assistance programs that are available for repairs.

The districts and their sweep dates are.

  • District 1 (July 8 - July 19): Airport/Riverfront, Harlan Park, Downtown, Church, Oakland, Lakeside, Roselawn.
  • District 2 (July 22 - Aug. 2): South, Prospect, Douglass, Meadowlawn, Amanda/Oneida
  • District 3 (Aug. 5 - Aug. 16): Sherman, Highlands, Barbara Park, Mayfield
  • District 4 (Aug. 19 - Aug. 30): Sunset/Park Place, El Dorado/Williamsdale, University, Wildwood, Avalon, Riverside Village, Dixie Heights, Springhill, Northeast, Manchester Meadows
  • District 5 (Sept. 2 - Sept. 13): Sawyer’s Mill, Rosedale/The Oaks, Creekview, Euclid Heights/Runnymede, Lewis/Clifton Farms, Greenfields, Far Hills, Thorny Acres/Burnham Woods, Towne Mall, New England Heights, Renaissance

The sweep will offer two separate checks, one for nuisance violations and another for violations of the Middletown development code and property maintenance. Most common violations of the property maintenance code are for sidewalks and driveways; accessory structures; premises identification; foundations; exterior walls, roofs, gutters and drainage; stairways, decks and porch; handrails and guardrails.

The code specialists will also be looking for nuisance violations such as tall grass and weeds (no higher than six inches), accumulation of garbage, litter and rubbish, plus trees and shrubbery.

The Middletown ordinance addressing trees and shrubbery is specific to their impact on the public right-of-way. The city’s ordinance does not require the cutting, trimming, or removal of trees or bushes on private property except for maintenance to a specific height over the street, sidewalk or right-of-way.

The code enforcement specialists will inspect from the sidewalk, alley ways or driveway. They will not go into lawns, homes or backyards. However, if a backyard backs up into an alley, the backyard can be inspected that way. No drones will be used to inspect areas that a specialist can’t see.

If a property is found to either have a property maintenance, zoning, or nuisance violation, a notice will be served by posting the notice in a conspicuous place on the property and sending a copy of the notice by regular mail to the property (if owner-occupied, or to the occupant if rental) and to the tax mailing address for the owner as listed on the County Auditor’s website.

In the majority of cases, there will be an abatement period, or the time limit to complete repairs, that will begin when the city receives word of notice.

During this abatement period, the violations are expected to be corrected before a recheck by a code specialist. Tenants of rentals will not be fined or cited into court for property maintenance violations – only nuisance and zoning violations. The time to fix or repair the violations are: tall grass, trees, trash, seven days; parking on grass, illegal expansion of driveway, etc., 20 days, and property maintenance, 30 days.

The code sweep is happening at the same time as the second Trash Bash scheduled for July 13 and the ongoing Home Improvement Repair Program that has been expanded and will kick off July 22. City officials previously said the second round of the repair program would begin today, but it has been delayed until the 22nd.

Under round 2 of the repair program, homeowners can receive up to $8,500 in grant funding for costs incurred during the repair/improvement process. The funds will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Up to 50% of the grant award may be requested to be paid in advance of the project with the remaining 50% to be paid as a reimbursement after verified completion. Only one approved application is allowed per year. All residents west of Breiel Boulevard are eligible.

Credit: Nick Graham, staff photographer

Credit: Nick Graham, staff photographer

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