Archive for Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring sparks city cleanup enforcement

April 21, 2011

With the return of mild weather, it’s time for spring cleanup, and the eyes of city staffers and neighbors might prompt action by some reluctant property owners.

City employees began their annual property maintenance inspections last week and they will be continuing it until the entire city has been checked. They will also begin sending letters to property owners if they are in violation of the city code.

“We’re going to be looking for the code enforcement for nuisances,” said Tiny Rakes, Baldwin City director of codes and zoning. “That’s always an on-going task out of the department, but it seems like it gets more attention during certain times of the year. People start noticing more when the weather gets warmer and the vegetation starts to grow. With the spring comes a spring-cleaning attitude.”

In addition to its annual inspections, the city staff also takes complaints from residents, who may call the code enforcement staff at 594-6907 to report a nuisance.

“We always take complaints throughout the year,” Rakes said. “We also look for things that are grossly negligent. Now we’ve started to block out quadrants and going through the town looking for nuisances. We drive the streets and alleys, which consumes a lot of time. We definitely welcome eyes and ears and they don’t have to tell who they are.”

According to the city’s website, items that are considered a nuisance and are regulated in the effort to protect both the community and the public include, but are not limited to:

  • Abandoned vehicles; junked, wrecked, flat tires, broken or missing window(s), missing body part(s), not currently tagged, incapable of moving under its own power.

  • Exterior conditions; (yard/porches); scattered and/or accumulation of lumber, wire, metal, tires, concrete, plastic, auto parts, junk, trash, refuse, appliances, furniture not manufactured for outdoor use, dead or substantially dead trees.

  • Weeds/overgrowth; which may attain such large growth to harbor rats, insects, animals, reptiles, or any other creature which either may or does constitute a menace to health, public safety or welfare, overgrowth when dry, is a fire menace, and has a blighting influence on surrounding property when in excess of 12 inches in height.

  • Structure(s) and/or fences; that are deteriorated, dilapidated or dangerous.

“According to the city code, nuisances can be anything, but not limited to, limbs, bricks, wire, wood, appliances and car parts,” Rakes said. “All of those things can be nuisances. Everybody has different degrees of what they would allow in their own yard. People are allowed to have blocks, wood and other things in their yard, as long as they are kept in an orderly fashion.”

Baldwin City’s annual citywide cleanup will be June 11. Many items that are declared nuisances may be taken to the city power plant south of Orange Street on June 11 to dispose of those items.

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