More than 1,000 Richmond properties cited for code violations

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Common Council hears report; also grants industrial zoning request

Richmond residents who see an eyesore or unsafe conditions can get the city’s help in getting it cleaned up.
The city has ticketed 1,058 properties since the first of the year for tall weeds and brush, outdoor trash and unsafe conditions, according to Derek Hill, head of the city’s code enforcement department. He spoke to the Common Council on May 16. Each ticket is a citation requiring a property owner to alleviate the conditions before the city steps in.
Hill outlined what his department does and its progress so far in helping clean up the city. While most owners act after getting a ticket, the city will step in and clean up properties if the conditions are allowed to continue. The city sends a bill to the property owners for the work. It must be paid before the property can be sold.
The city also has a process for getting rid of unsafe properties. Since Jan. 1, the city has removed 17 buildings, Hill said. It has also boarded and secured two vacant buildings.
Before a building can be demolished, the owner may be given up to 24 months to fix conditions there, City Attorney Andrew J. Sickmann told the council. Hill said owners usually are given less time but that is the longest period allowed before the city takes action.
Demolition is a last step. The process starts with a complaint, often from the public, or one of the department staff members. After a property inspection by Hill’s staff, the department sends a letter to the owner outlining the unsafe conditions and giving the owner time to fix them.
The owner is also asked to come before the city’s Unsafe Building Commission and explain why the building has been allowed to deteriorate and what the owner will do to fix it.
“The Unsafe Building Commission is working. Most people that come to a hearing clean up the property,” Hill said. “But some people don’t even show up.”
Rezoning OKd for new factory
In other business, the council approved rezoning that will allow a steel building company to put a new factory on the city’s northwest side. Metal Max of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, plans to erect a 45,000 square foot building on 47 acres at the southeast corner of Salisbury and Industries roads. It would make steel roofing and siding panels for two associated companies, Old Hickory Buildings and Max Building, Ian Vanness, the city’s director of infrastructure and development, said.
Council approved the company’s request to change zoning from outdoor industrial to high intensity industrial. In April, the city’s Advisory Plan Commission had reviewed the plan and given a favorable recommendation.

The council’s next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, June 6, in the Municipal Building, 50 N. 5th St. The public may attend. The Richmond Power and Light board of directors, composed of all Common Council members, meets afterward.

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