By Jordan Puckett
Batavia village council has passed an ordinance to establish building maintenance standards. The decision to adopt the Minimum Property Maintenance Standards Code came during the July 1 regular council meeting. The code will give the village the authority to cite property owners for dilapidated buildings and maintenance violations.
The code applies to all property within the village of Batavia. The purpose of the code is “to protect health, safety, and welfare in the Village of Batavia, Ohio, by establishing property maintenance and construction standards that apply to all real property in the Village, including all structures and land.”
The code prohibits buildings from being structurally unsafe and demands residents keep up on exterior paint, windows, chimneys, doors, and so on.
“Honestly, I don’t think this code has a whole bunch of teeth, but it is something that an aggressive planning commission and zoning administrator can use in time of need,” said village administrator Dennis Nichols. “And I think it protects peoples’ rights abundantly.”
Nichols made it clear that the code has no provision for internal inspection.
“If you’re standing outside and see a roof caving in, right now we have no tool to do anything about it,” said council member Robert Handra. “At least this starts the process.”
Council member Earl Carter said he did not agree with the penalty as stated in the ordinance.
As it stands, the penalty is currently $100 per day after conviction of violation, until the problem is resolved.
“There are other communities in Clermont County using this same structure, and the law provides townships…$500 per day for violation,” said village solicitor Chris Moore. He said the fee is only for those who refuse to resolve the problem and force the village to take the matter to court.
“If someone does not have the means to fix something, what are their options?” resident Jenx Elliott asked council.
Nichols explained that there are appeals possible and even if the matter is taken to court, a judge could still say the village is being unreasonable. Handra said that there are organizations that assist the poor and the elderly with property maintenance issues.
Council voted 3-2 to adopt the maintenance standards code. Carter and Kathy Turner both abstained. Council member Steve Staton was absent from the meeting due to illness.