City Makes Progress During The First Nine Months of New
Abatement/Nuisance Housing Ordinance
On July 1, 2007, the City of Oelwein began a proactive effort focused on addressing property and housing nuisances within the community. During the first nine months, significant progress has been noted. The effort is a result of a cooperative effort between city officials and a citizen task force that was appointed to make recommendations on the issue.
“While this process is ongoing, we feel that significant strides have been made in ridding our community of health and safety hazards such as junk vehicles, scrap piles, abandoned garbage and unsafe houses/structures,” stated Oelwein City Administrator Steve Kendall. “As with any new or revamped project, there are growing pains and lessons learned. We have and continue to streamline the process in order to ensure fair and efficient processing of violations.”
Since the ordinance went into effect, one-hundred and seventy-eight violations have been reported by citizens or observed by city officials. Out of those violations, one-hundred and sixty-seven have been cleared by compliance or through court proceedings.
“Working with the property owners is the key to gaining compliance,” advised Chief Jeremy Logan. “The enforcement division and the Office of the City Inspector have patiently worked with property owners to ensure they understand the violations and have provided ample time to bring areas into compliance. The City Administrator, the Mayor, the City Council and the City Attorney have been instrumental in these efforts by enacting the ordinance and ensuring the means in which to accomplish these tasks.”
Violations that have been observed are, junk vehicles, campers, trailers and car parts. Other violations are garbage piles, burn barrels, interior furniture outside, old appliances and structural issues such as unsafe porches, doorways, roofs, foundations or overall unsafe/unsanitary buildings.
Mayor Larry Murphy commented, “Four years of hard work by a committee, comprised of city officials and local citizens, to help craft this ordinance was definitely worth it. Compliance has been our goal from the beginning and we are pleased with the results. The compliance rate displays the desire of our citizens to live in a clean and safe community due to their willingness to clean up their properties. I highly compliment the City Staff, the Enforcement Division and the local residents who have been diligent in bringing run down properties into compliance.”
Mayor Murphy added, “As we are on the verge of another major announcement about the recruitment of another business with high wage jobs, this points to the importance of having a community we can sell to employers and their employees.”
As we enter the spring time, the City of Oelwein would encourage citizens to survey their property for items that may need attention and to utilize the Citywide Spring Clean-up event on May 10, 2008. Citizens will be able to dispose of unwanted appliances, scrap metal, car batteries, oil and tires. This event is held in the south Municipal Parking Lot.