Clayton targets abandoned and unsafe structures

CLAYTON – City council has adopted an ordinance to amend its codified ordinances regarding abandoned and unsafe structures that are deemed uninhabitable.

City council first addressed the issue in October 2009 when two ordinances were adopted to address ‘abandoned structures’ and another to address ‘unsafe structures’ and the blighting effects these type of structures have on surrounding properties.

The new ordinance combines the two older ordinances into one entitled, ‘Unsafe, Abandoned, or Uninhabitable Structures.’

According to Development Director Jack Kuntz, the proposed change came as the result of an opportunity to obtain Community Development Block Grant Funding to demolish these types of structures. Staff reviewed city code to see what it needed to do to begin the process of contacting property owners of structures that had been identified as needing to be demolished as the city begins a project to improve the landscape of the city.

“What we determined was that, looking at past law with legal counsel, and going through the code, in order to put together a better and cleaner process in order to make sure that we were affording everyone due process and to follow the right steps in the notification process that this was an opportunity to combine the unsafe structures and the abandoned structures into one chapter,” Kuntz said. “Moving forward, this gives staff the opportunity to have a clear, clean process that gives our residents and property owners due process and protects the city against any potential litigation as we move forward to perform demolition projects.”

Vice Mayor Tim Gorman stated that he felt the city was not amending anything, but rather cancelling one thing and replacing it with another piece of legislation. Kuntz pointed out that the new legislation includes some changes. The original legislation required the city manager to review any proposed demolition for a final decision. That requirement would be removed and replaced with steps to determine whether or not a property is dangerous and how the city would notify the property owner.

“We have also changed from 60 days to 30 days the notification time frame,” Kuntz said. “That gives us the ability, if there is a structure, that we can move more quickly to correct the situation.”

Council adopted the new ordinance by unanimous vote.

In other business, a resolution was passed to approve payment of an annual fee to the Miami Valley Regional Crime Laboratory for Forensic Services for the Year 2017 at a cost not to exceed $11,692.

Police Chief Matt Hamlin noted that the cost was a significant decrease from 2016 of $17,955.

“The money has already been appropriated in the 2017 budget,” Hamlin said. “The reason for the decrease is the new pricing model that is going to be based on which pieces of evidence that we submit to the crime lab for forensic services.”

Mayor Joyce Deitering asked Hamlin in the crime lab had things smoothed out now and Hamlin said that it seemed so.

“With this pricing I would imagine that it makes a lot of people happy,” Hamlin stated. “We would see a significant savings this year.”

A second resolution was also approved to appoint Finance Director Kevin Schweitzer as the city representative to the Board of Directors of the Joint Economic Development District (JEDD) pursuant to Section 8(A)(1) of the JEDD contract between the City of Clayton and Clay Township.

Schweitzer was appointed as the city representative three years ago when Gwen Eberly left city staff to take a position with Montgomery County. Schweitzer’s term on the JEDD just expired but he expressed an interest in being appointed to continue serving on the board.

By Ron Nunnari

[email protected]

Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email [email protected] or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind