Proposed property maintenance code in Jerusalem Twp. withdrawn

Kelly J. Kaczala

        Jerusalem Township will not have its own property maintenance code after all. A draft of a proposed maintenance code was discussed at previous meetings, but met with considerable opposition in December.
        Trustee Mark Sattler said at a meeting on Tuesday that during a review of the proposed code, it was learned that the state already had a property maintenance code, which took precedence over a local code.
        Last year, the township zoning inspector and one of the zoning commission members were touring an area of the township with the Lucas County chief building inspector.
        “The zoning commission felt there were property maintenance issues that weren’t being fully addressed by the zoning resolution they had in place. The Lucas County chief building inspector said they may want to look at the International Property Code standard as a template. The zoning commission didn’t realize there was an international standard, so they began to look into it,” said Sattler.
        “They worked on developing it, then customizing it to Jerusalem Township,” he explained. “They looked at it over a number of meetings, then sent it to Jerusalem Township trustees for approval.”
        The township attorney reviewed the draft, and had recommended a number of edits and had some comments.
        “So we turned those edits and comments to the zoning commission for review,” said Sattler.
        Meanwhile, opposition to the proposed property maintenance code in the township was growing.
        An online petition was circulating, which expressed several concerns. Among them: whether the proposed property maintenance code gave authority to the zoning inspector to set foot on private property without consent or warrant, whether residents could face criminal charges, and whether the zoning inspector could force residents to make repairs to their homes if they were financially unable to do so.
        “Is this what we want the trustees to be focusing their time and energy on?” stated an anonymous email sent to The Press last year. “Come January 1st we will have reduced police coverage which has not been resolved yet. Why should we be forced to invest and upgrade our homes, if we won’t have any police coverage to protect our homes?”
        Although trustees addressed those concerns at trustee meetings, it did little to quell opposition.
        “There had been a fair amount of pushback from some residents attending our meetings saying they just didn’t want a property maintenance code,” said Sattler. “So the zoning commission basically withdrew their request for trustee approval after the commission reviewed all the comments and edits. They heard members of the community saying they were not comfortable with a property maintenance code.”
        The township will follow their own zoning resolution rules, as well as the Ohio Revised Code to address property maintenance issues in the future.
        “Our residents want an attractive township. Our businesses want a township that is visually appealing so tourists aren’t discouraged.”
        There are many residents who keep their properties neat and tidy, and want their neighbors to do the same, he said.
        Nobody wants a rundown property next to them, attracting vermin to unkempt yards with inoperable vehicles, he said.


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