EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSHuntington Begins Crackdown On Outdoor Junk, Weeds
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Darrah Wilcox
Web Producer: Bethany Simmons
Also Contributing: Associated Press
Reported: Jul. 1, 2013 8:34 AM EDT
Updated: Jul. 2, 2013 9:11 AM EDT
Huntington , Cabell County , West Virginia
Residents in Huntington have been clearing out junk, and cleaning up yards for months. Now, those who haven't been pitching in, are being cited.
Code Enforcement officer John Baker said, "We'll get property owners and we'll let them know that there's a responsibility to take care of their properties.
Alex Bourgeois said it was a wake-up call when he got a warning citation for high grass on his Illinois Street property in Westmoreland. He said he didn't know the person who usually cut the grass on the property had fallen ill, and hadn't been maintaining the yard work. "This has been really great in the sense that they brought it to my attention, we were able to get it cut, and now I've actually opened a little but more of a dialogue with the neighbors and in the future if this happens again, obviously the neighbors will call me. So, that's a good thing."
Monday, code enforcement officer came out for a compliance check. Baker said it's important to get Huntington as clean as can be. Over the past three months, the city collected more than 2,000 tons of junk from all over the city. Starting today, these code enforcement officers, and even any police officer or firefighter can issue an on the spot citation if you're in violation.
Mayor Steve Williams says the ordinance is only fair to residents who maintain their properties.
"If you're living in a city, there's a social compact that you maintain your property so that it doesn't diminish the property value of your neighbors," he said.
Ronald Moore agreed. "It's very important to me to keep up the as far as you're property value," he said.
He said he and his next-door neighbor work hard to keep their west Huntington homes clean.
"There's no sense in living like a pig!" said Moore.
If you're issued a citation and can prove you''ve cleaned up the area by the time you're scheduled to appear in municipal court, the judge can waive your fine.
If you want to report an area that needs cleaned up, you can call 304-696-4444 or 304-781-8334.
Huntington is enforcing a new ordinance that prohibits tall weeds and grass, litter, junked cars and the outdoor storage of mattresses and other items not intended for outdoor use.
Beginning Monday, violators will be issued on-the-spot citations. Previously, the city gave owners 10 days to clean up their properties before issuing citations.
The Herald-Dispatch reports that violators will be fined $100 for the first offense. The fine will increase to $200 for the second offense, $300 for the third offense and $500 for each subsequent violation within a 12-month period.
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