BATH TOWNSHIP — The Bath Township Board of Trustees has declared a vacant property, located at 4953 Bath Road, a public nuisance and has ordered the cleanup of the property.
The township trustees adopted the measure after Township Zoning Inspector Jim Miller presented evidence Aug. 15 of the existing nuisances at the residential property during a nuisance abatement hearing.
Miller presented 18 photos of the property to trustees, which showed noxious weeds, overgrown vegetation, rubbish, fallen tree branches and other debris.
According to the nuisance code, township officials may enter onto private property to abate nuisances after a required notification process. The township will pay all costs of the cleanup and under state law, place those expenditures on the property owner’s tax duplicate. The township recovers the costs when the taxes are paid.
“This property is certainly an irritation and a nuisance to the neighbors who presented their concerns to the board of trustees on July 18,” Miller said. “I believe this property affects property values as well, especially those properties that are located next door to it.”
Miller explained that once the trustees adopt the resolution declaring the property a public nuisance, the township will notify the property owner, Joseph Sunday, by certified mail and order him to clean up the offending nuisances. Once Sunday has received notification, he will have seven days to comply with the order. A notification will also be sent to Wright-Patt Credit Union which is the lienholder of record. If Sunday fails to comply within seven days, the board will provide for the cleanup.
“If the board of trustees determines within twelve consecutive months after this nuisance hearing that the property owner’s maintenance of the land constitutes a nuisance, the township is not required to hold another nuisance hearing before notifying Mr. Sunday,” Miller added. “Once he is notified, Sunday will have only four days to clean up the property before the township can take action.”
Approximately nine township residents attended the public hearing to voice their complaints about the nuisance property and to provide their testimonies to township trustees.
George Garcia who lives on the 49oo block of Bath Road, told trustees that raccoons and other animals had taken up residency in the rotten eaves of the vacant house which has created health and other issues for neighboring residents.
“We try to enjoy outdoor living during the summer, but we cannot sit on our porch because the odor from the animals is really bad at times,” Garcia said.
Township Trustee Steve Ross explained to Garcia that the issues with the house fall under a different code violation that governs the structure on the property and would have to be addressed during another nuisance abatement hearing.
Gary Snyder, whose property is on the 4900 block of Bath Road west of the Sunday property, said he has trapped 17 raccoons that have traveled from the vacant house to his property during the last three years.
“The house is a total eyesore, and I am concerned about squatters,” said Snyder. “In the past, I have called the county sheriff about a door which was standing open. Once in a while, I see a light in the house too.”
Miller also pointed out that the property has been in a dilapidated condition for approximately eight years, and he has personally dealt with the nuisances at the site for about six years.
Ross suggested that the township contract out the project to a local lawn contractor because the township road department is currently short of staff and is involved in summer road improvement projects.
Township Trustee Tom Pitstick move to declare the property a public nuisance and initiate abatement. The motion carried with a 2-0 vote. Miller said he would move forward with the notification process.
Linda Collins is a freelance writer for Greene County News.