Village officials in Genoa are about to get tough on the owners of dilapidated homes.
The crackdown will begin in the new year, said Village Administrator Kevin Gladden, who doubles as the zoning inspector. He said the effort is something both he and Mayor Mark Williams have wanted to tackle for a while. The issue was brought up during this week’s meeting of village council.
“There are several houses that are in really bad shape … and they are home to raccoons, opossums and other animals,” Gladden said. The situation has gone on long enough and the homes simply need torn down, he added.
Genoa’s zoning code has guidelines to begin the abatement process, Gladden explained. But the village will work with the property owners to see if there is funding available to help them with house razing costs.
The demolish effort falls in line with one already in progress at the county level.
This summer, Ottawa County received $220,000 in state funds from Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s Office to help raze abandoned and blighted homes. The premise behind the effort is that blight affects everyone in the community – whether through decreased property values or increased health and safety risks.
Ottawa County’s share is part of $75 million distributed among Ohio’s 88 counties. The funds came from a state and federal settlement with five major mortgage services over foreclosure abuses, fraud and unacceptable mortgage practices.
Stephanie Lowe, director of the Ottawa County Housing Authority, is overseeing the project called Moving Ohio Forward Demolition Grant Program along with Ottawa Regional Planning Commission Director Joe Gerber. They sent letters to all local municipalities about the program and took requests for demolitions.
Lowe said it takes about $10,000 to tear down one single family home.
She had hoped to get the project under way by September but was stalled by red tape needed to get the homes verified and readied for destruction. All the work needs to be completed by December 2013, according to the grant guidelines.
Gladden said Genoa did not get in on this first round of demolitions. However, he intends to contact Lowe and Gerber to explore the possibility of securing some of those funds for these older homes in the village. He also plans to continue to look for other grants that may offer help to offset razing costs.