Cleaning Up the County - The Missourian: Opinion

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Cleaning Up the County

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Posted: Thursday, July 17, 2014 6:30 pm

Franklin County officials have served notice that they are going to take action when complaints are made about dilapidated structures in the unincorporated areas. Code revisions have given officials the authority to take action. Code revisions were effective July 1.

For a long time, the county has received complaints about structures that appear about ready to collapse, others with broken windows, missing doors and roofs ready to cave in. These abandoned structures are public nuisances, pose safety concerns and are eyesores.

The code prohibits “substantially destroyed buildings” which are defined as “any residential, commercial or industrial building with one or more walls or roof that has a surface area 50 percent or more that has collapsed and has been substantially destroyed for 90 days or more.”

County officials are not going to search for dilapidated structures. A written report must be received from a citizen before the county will act. If the property owner does not respond to a notice that the structure must be removed, the complaint will be handled by a special prosecutor, who will file the violation in the county’s court. Forms to file a complaint are on the county’s website.

The county code has had provisions that deal with junk vehicles, derelict mobile homes and trash on a property. County officials believe with the additions to the code concerning structures that are considered “destroyed,” cleanup efforts will be enhanced.

The code revisions should have been made a long time ago. The addition of a way to rid the county of dilapidated structures is a positive move. Now it is up to citizens to file complaints.

Municipalities should take heed of what the county is doing, and follow suit. There undoubtedly isn’t a municipality in the county that doesn’t have a dilapidated structure or two, or even more. They are quite visible. They are eyesores that should be removed.

/opinion

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