Dry Ridge changes nuisance ordinance

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By Bryan Marshall

The city of Dry Ridge has a new ordinance to deal with properties with dilapidated buildings, out of control grass and weeds and other nuisances.

The city council passed a second reading of the nuisance ordinance May 18 after tabling a similar, but lengthier ordinance late last year.

“This ordinance is a lot shorter,” said Mayor Clay Crupper. “We cut out a lot of stuff about burning wood and smoke and noises and things like that. We wanted to keep it simple.”

Public nuisances in the ordinance include: accumulation of rubbish, unfit dwellings, unsafe buildings, dangerous buildings adjoining streets, dilapidated buildings, weeds and grass in excess of 12 inches in height, storage of junk, scrap metal and motor vehicles in an inoperable condition, abandoned or dangerous signs.

The mayor cited two abandoned homes on Warsaw Avenue that sparked interest in developing the nuisance ordinance.

“We have some old houses in Dry Ridge and we’re going to have to condemn them if the property owners don’t do something about them,” Crupper said. “This ordinance will give us the authority to do that. The rest of it, about weeds and all that, was in our old ordinance.”

Crupper said he has been in contact with one of the property owners so far and is hoping to see if the owners will be willing to sell the properties as is in order for an interested party to tear the buildings down to build a house.

Violators of the ordinance will receive a notice demanding the abatement of the nuisance within five days unless the nuisance constitutes an immediate danger.

The nuisance would have to be abated within 24 hours if a immediate danger is determined.

Notice will be served by certified and regular mail to the last known address of the owner of the property as it appears on the current tax assessment roll.

The property owner will be afforded a public hearing prior to the abatement of any nuisance or demolition of any unfit or unsafe structure provided the hearing be requested in writing by the property owner no later than seven days following the notice.

The city council members would hear the appeal and determine whether the abatement of the nuisance must go forward.

If the person served does not comply within the alloted time when a hearing is not required or invoked, the city may proceed to abate the nuisance, keeping an account of the expense in order to charge the owner or occupant.

Violators of any provision of the ordinance for which a penalty is not provided shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and be fined not less than $100 or imprisoned for not more than 30 days or both fine and confinement, for each offense.

Each day’s continued violation constitutes a separate offense.

“I hope we don’t have to use the ordinance very much, to tell you the truth,” Crupper said.