W. Pine Lake Rd. home declared public nuisance

PERRY TOWNSHIP–Township trustees declared a property in the 400 block of West Pine Lake Road a public nuisance Monday due to high grass and overgrown vegetation.

“The whole thing is bad,” Trustee Chairman Cliff Mix said.

Zoning Inspector Allan Wolfgang made the recommendation, citing the steps already met in the process for declaring a nuisance, including an on-site visit by officials. He said the property at 425 W. Pine Lake Road has been empty over a year and a half and the listed owners are both deceased, with the property subject to a Probate Court case.

Wolfgang said he spoke to the boyfriend of a relative of the owners who indicated he couldn’t do anything. At this point, he said the township has done what it can and the next step is to do a title search and send letters to any lienholders.

“We never had to do that before,” Trustee Don Kendrick said, noting they previously would send out a registered letter to the property owner.

Wolfgang said that’s what was recommended by their attorney from the Columbiana County Prosecutor’s Office. He also said going in and having the property cleaned up will be involved because there are trees downed that would have to be moved to cut the grass and brush. The township follows Ohio Revised Code for declaring a nuisance.

In another matter, Wolfgang told trustees the township may want to consider requiring contractors to register, similar to what Salem does. He said a lot of contractors will try to get in and out without getting a permit. The township requires a permit for any construction or remodeling project, roof reshingling, window installation, fencing or other building project with a value over $500.

A permit costs $25 for any project valued between $500 and $5,000 and then an additional $3 per $1,000 over that value. If a project is already started and the homeowner gets caught, the cost doubles. Securing the permit is the property owner’s responsibility, but some contractors do get the permits as part of the job.

Wolfgang said he’s been contacted by several contractors for permits, but he’s also had at least four cases where he caught projects after they had already started and when Kendrick was zoning inspector, he also had a few. The police department has called him with tips about construction seen during officer patrols.

So far in September, four permits have been issued. Anyone who needs a permit or has questions can contact Wolfgang at 330-332-9965.

The city of Salem charges an annual fee of $50 for a contractor registration, requiring that all helpers and subcontractors on a job be included, along with their tax information. Part of the reason behind the contractor registration was to ensure that anyone working in the city had the required income tax withholding taken out.

Trustees took no action on the suggestion and had little to say about the idea.

“I could see registering, but I don’t know about charging a fee,” Kendrick said.

Trustees announced that the township trick-or-treat will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Oct. 31, the same as the city of Salem. There was also a reminder that the meeting normally set on Oct. 9 has been moved to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 10.

The next trustee meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 25.