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Nuisance ordinance enforcement efforts in Park Hills will be a higher priority going forward.

As City Administrator Mark McFarland explained, “I think we’ve been a little lax in enforcing our nuisance ordinances.”

He said he has noticed violations such as trash bags piling up in carports and things like mattresses and other unsightly debris building up on area properties.

“I requested we get out there and start looking for things like this and making people clean it up and that’s what we’re going to do,” McFarland said. He added that not only does debris and trash piling up make the city look bad, but it breeds problems like vermin, bugs and and other health concerns.

When an ordinance violation is brought to city officials, a certified letter is sent to the property owner informing them that they are required to take care of it within 10 days of receiving of the letter.

As McFarland explained, “if it’s a large mess that could reasonably take more than 10 days to clean up, we just want to see progress or an effort that they are working on it.”

After the 10 days, or a reasonable amount of time proportional to the size of the mess has passed, the property owner will receive a citation and have to appear in court. Punishment for these type of violations include a fine of up to $500 and/or three months in jail.

When a property is derelict, uninhabited or a serious safety concern, the need to condemn the property may exist. In this case, a letter is posted to the property and the owners are notified to demolish the condemned structure. If the owner of the property cannot be located or cannot afford the cost of demolition, the city will demolish the structure and place a lien on the property. McFarland explained that the lien is placed on the property so that when the plot eventually sells, the city can recuperate the cost of demolition.

A property located on Vine Street recently was demolished after being condemned. The demolition was done by the city as the property owners could not pay for it. A lien was then placed on the property.

This particular case was handled quickly and efficiently, said Mayor Daniel Naucke.

“The house on Vine Street was our first one," he said. “Our attorney does a good job. [The property owners] signed it and away it went.” 

Naucke also said in a recent council meeting, “We are going to attack this real hard, so get ready.” 

Not only will city officials be on the lookout for violations but McFarland suggests that citizens be on the lookout as well saying, “If there’s a citizen out there that feels like a neighbor may be in violation of this, they can call city hall and someone will come out and take a look.”

McFarland stated plainly that the goal of the city is just to clean this town up and “a clean town is something we can all be proud of.”

At a time when the city council, the Downtown Park Hills Association, and citizens are seriously looking to see the city restored to former glory, the crackdown on nuisances will be taken a lot more seriously going forward, as council members have made it clear in the meeting.

Naucke said they already have a growing list of properties in violation and the list is growing by the day.

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Bobby Radford is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3628, or at bradford@dailyjournalonline.com.

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