Abandoned homes to be discussed

Published 11:20 am Monday, June 6, 2016

Ordinances will be focus of meeting


CHESAPEAKE — Two ordinances will go before the Chesapeake village council at Monday’s meeting, dealing with the issues of abandoned houses and dilapidated cars.

Council member Alex Hackney said the village has ordinances on the books, but they have no been enforced for quite some time.

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He said the existing ordinances required action to start with the police chief, which wasn’t being done.

The council voted 4-1 to remove Dennis Gibson from the position at an April meeting.

“I tried to work with him on the issue, but he refused,” Hackney said.

He said that he has rewritten the two ordinances and will put them forward at Monday’s meeting to clarify the law.

The first is for the issue of abandoned houses. The issue was raised at May’s meeting, when resident Jeanine Classing brought a petition before the council regarding an abandoned home on Second Avenue next to rental property she owns.

Classing said she has been fighting over the condition of the house for years, and that it was in a state of dilapidation, needed condemned and the yard was overgrown and only mowed a handful of times per year.

Hackney, who joined the council earlier this year to fill the seat left vacant when Tommy Templeton was elected mayor, said the ordinances will deal with houses that have been abandoned for 30 days.

“We have one on the books, but it doesn’t go far enough,” he said. “It would give 30 days notice to remedy the situation and then it goes to court.”

He said he is working on a second ordinance on the issue of dilapidated cars. The current ordinance requires the village marshal to take action.

Hackney said the ordinances are not about punishing people.

“It’s about making the village a nicer place to live,” he said. “There’s no community pride. If you drive around, you see houses run down with yards waist-high.”

In addition to the two ordinances, Hackney said he will also introduce a proposal to upgrade the village’s website, with a feature that would allow the community to anonymously report on drugs and other activity. He said he’s very interested in improving the village’s multi-media presence and revamping the website and recording of meetings.

He said it is to promote community involvement, something he hopes, combined with the hiring of a more active police chief, will put Chesapeake on a new course.

“The main thing is we want the village to do well,” he said. “We want residents to be happy and turn things around from where we’ve been the past few years.”