Next Phase of County Clean-Up Heads East

RIDGEWAY – With their first phase of targeted cleanup in the Mill Village complete, Fairfield County’s Property Maintenance Code Enforcement officers are now directing their attention to the northeast portion of the county. March 14, Code Enforcement officer LaShonda Holmes gave a presentation to Ridgeway Town Council to let them know where officers will be working and what they will be looking for.

The officers will not be working inside the town limits, Holmes said, but will be focusing on an area around Long Road and Highway 21. Ridgeway Mayor Charlene Herring said she was happy to see the county take steps to ensure property owners properly maintain their homes.

“We’re delighted this is going to be done,” Herring said. “These (neglected) properties become eye-sores as well as targets of criminal activity.”

In addition to the Property Maintenance Codes, Holmes said the County will be enforcing the Public Nuisance, Land Management and Solid Waste Management ordinances. Officers will be on the lookout for abandoned and dangerous buildings and mobile homes, as well as abandoned vehicles and the accumulation of garbage and junk on properties. Property owners face a minimum fine of $200 per day for garbage and $500 per day for abandoned homes and buildings, Holmes said. These fines do not include court costs, she said.

Holmes said the County would, for qualified property owners, provide a dumpster for the removal of excessive garbage or the remains of burned-out abandoned mobile homes. Otherwise, property owners will be responsible for clean-up costs.

“The reason we brought this to you is we were moving into this area and we wanted to show you the places we have already identified, and you may know of some others,” County Administrator Phil Hinely said. “We’re not targeting people, we’re not picking on people. We just want people to provide decent housing for our residents.”

Dwayne Perry, Vice Chairman of Fairfield County Council, said the codes were not just about decent housing, but were about industrial development as well.

“Industries will come and look at your community without you ever knowing it to see what kind of pride you take in your community,” Perry said. “We do take pride in our county, but we do have some slum lords, for lack of a better term, who will not take care of their property.”

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