Hobart council tables maintenance changes

2013-10-16T21:00:00Z 2013-11-29T14:53:07Z Hobart council tables maintenance changesDeborah Laverty deborah.laverty@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2223 nwitimes.com

HOBART | The City Council is not prepared to hammer out proposed changes to its property maintenance regulations.

The council agreed Wednesday to table the proposed regulations and discuss the changes at a future Ordinance Committee meeting.

City Councilman David Vinzant, D-4th, said his main problem with the proposed changes is that those cited for noncompliance can just pay fines without making necessary maintenance updates.

"What if the problem still isn't fixed?" Vinzant asked.

He said he and City Councilman Matt Claussen, D-at-large, discussed the proposed changes prior to the meeting and have issues with the section on enforcement of violations.

"The problem we have is property violations tend to be ongoing, like the blue tarp left on roofs," Vinzant said.

The way the ordinance is now set up residents could go pay their fines and the blue tarp wouldn't be removed, Vinzant said.

City Councilman Jerry Herzog, D-1st, said he thought the issue was addressed in the proposed changes.

"Costs will keep going up and so will the encouragement to get their roof fixed," Herzog said.

The council during the summer directed City Attorney Anthony DeBonis to draw up changes to the property maintenance ordinance including the top five list of residents' complaints.

Those top five complaints include tall grass and weeds, junk cars, boats and trailers, blue tarps on roofs, unkempt houses and unkempt yards, DeBonis said.

The council agreed the building code needs to be clearer about maintenance of home sites.

The council looked at copies of property maintenance ordinances from other communities, including Portage, Crown Point and Evansville.

The majority agreed the ordinance Portage adopted seemed to be the best and one to be used as a model.

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