GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis City Commissioners voted on the first reading of a a potential ordinance Tuesday that would give city code enforcement more bite in its oversight of yard care.
The addition of section 1353 to the city ordinance states, “The owner of any real property upon which is found a violation of these codified ordinances and/or the International Property Maintenance Code shall be liable for a fee payable to the city of Gallipolis in the following amounts.”
In keeping with a standardized set of codes adopted by various entities throughout the state, Gallipolis recognizes that residents must keep their weeds on a property less than a fourth of an acre less than eight inches tall. Weeds are legally defined in this sense as all grasses, annual plants and vegetation other than trees or shrubs. This term also does not include cultivated flowers or gardens. Those who violate the ordinance will be fined $50. Properties larger than a fourth of an acre who do not maintain their weeds will be fined $100.
Any property within city limits that is not kept free of trash or debris can also be fined $100.
The fines may initially sound low to some at first. According to city officials, however, the fines can accrue daily if property owners do not remedy ticket violations.
According to officials, individuals in the past who had failed to maintain their properties were billed in accordance with the city’s hiring of contractors to cut or clean a property. Had an individual failed to pay the bill, the cost was then placed on their property tax payments. Officials say the new fines will hopefully hasten an owner’s efforts in maintaining their property as well as bring violation money back to the city more quickly than having to wait for tax collection.
Those who fail to pay the fine may face first-degree misdemeanor charges as well as the cost of fixing the code violation added to the parcel property. Individuals convicted could face up to a potential of 180 days in jail.
The potential ordinance will need a second reading before being voted on and passed into law, which will be done at the next commission meeting.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.