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Thread: Property maintenance regulations

  1. #1
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
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    Property maintenance regulations

    I am needing some help here, but do any communities you know of have anything on the books that deals with properties that just look ‘junky’, i.e. properties with crap in the driveway or yard.

    I am dealing with several properties in Town here that have lots of junk on them. We are running into issues with the ordinances we have on the books for them.

    Our unsightly property code is tied to the health aspect, i.e. creating a home for vermin, etc. We have tried to use a section of our ZO dealing with outdoor/open storage, but it is written so broadly we are having a tough time enforcing it. Any ideas? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    You can approach it thru zoning or thru solid waste accumulation, or thru ICC's International Property Maintenance Code.

    Lots of language available if your local gubmint body has the cojones.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    I repeat fringe: get your community to adopt the ICC property maintenance code. It is based on health and safety; but you can argue health on most anything. Potential harborage of vermin fits many issues. The ICC Code has been reviewed by many lawyers and other experts. Also, most states have some statutes on blight/blighting influences.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by fringe View post
    You can approach it thru zoning or thru solid waste accumulation, or thru ICC's International Property Maintenance Code.

    Lots of language available if your local gubmint body has the cojones.
    I looked at the ICC Code and in speaking with our building officals there doesn't seem to be much of a desire to adopt the ICC International Property Maintenance Code. I am not familar with the ICC Codes, can we adopt only a portion of it? Can we use some of the language in the ICC as a guide?

    Does anyone else have anything on their books that has been effective in dealing with junky properties?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    While I highly recommend it, I cannot get the ICC maintenance code past the city attorney. In my previous position, we took that code and pretty much re-wrote it to fit our situation.

    Check your state statutes. Most all states have some system for nuisances. Unfortunately, most of them are very cumbersome. It might be buried in the old urban renewal laws. If and when it comes time to "take" someone's property, you need the cumbersome due process. The ability to write a formal notice and perhaps take an offender to court works 97% of the time.

    By the way, it takes exceptional community support to enforce nuisance codes.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    The city of Marshalltown, IA has some property maintenance codes that deal with many things. Most communities just deal with garbage and junk as "property maintenance" but they deal with missing or damaged siding, plywood in lieu of windows, tarp over roofs, chipping paint, etc - actual physical property issue.

    It's pretty inclusive and most of their rules are typically only found in newer associations, not older established towns. I looked and they don't have it online but I'm sure if you called you could get an electronic version. Many cities here in Iowa have been interested in copying what they've done.

    641-754-5756

  7. #7
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by paiste13 View post
    It's pretty inclusive and most of their rules are typically only found in newer associations, not older established towns. I looked and they don't have it online but I'm sure if you called you could get an electronic version. Many cities here in Iowa have been interested in copying what they've done.
    Paiste thanks for the heads up on Marshalltown, I looked at their site. They seem to have a pretty inclusive program set up there.

  8. #8
    Dan Staley's avatar
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    There should be numerous examples of nuisance ordinances out there. Lots of places have written code to cut grass, pull weeds, move yard cars. Very common.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Marshalltown

    We do have Property Maintenance Codes here in Marshalltown. They seem to work pretty well to clean up some less-desirable properties in town. And not just grass and weeds (which are handled through a different department here), but roofing, siding, doors, paint, etc. As with everything, there will be some controversy with landlord's, etc. but a majority of people seem to support the codes.

  10. #10

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    City of Big Rapids, Michigan
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    We use the International Property Maintenace Code (IPMC) but also have a city ordinance as it relates to Blight. I normally will write people up for the city ordinance but sometimes we right them up for both.

    The IPMC allows you to be more specific sometimes.

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