Blight cleanup advancing, says Clinton County asst. prosecutor


By Gary Huffenberger - ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com



The Clinton County Land Bank, in collaboration with the Clinton County Prosecutor’s Office, recently acquired this property located in Vernon Township.


Submitted photo

WILMINGTON — Local officials continued to make strides in the past 30 days on the “Clean Up Clinton County” initiative, a representative of the Clinton County prosecutor said Wednesday.

Assistant Clinton County Prosecuting Attorney Justin Dickman reported three new foreclosure cases were filed against properties that are tax delinquent and blighted in Wilmington, New Vienna and Midland.

The Wilmington and New Vienna properties have vacant and abandoned structures on them, while the Midland property is occupied, he said.

The Clinton County Land Bank, in collaboration with the Clinton County Prosecutor’s Office, acquired two properties through a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure proceeding at sites located on the 9000 block of U.S. 22 / State Route 3 in Vernon Township, and on the 200 block of North Mulberry Street in Wilmington.

The Vernon Township property is an approximately 4-acre parcel with an abandoned house.

The Land Bank also appears to be close to acquiring a State Route 380 property in Chester Township, Dickman said.

“All [three] of those are in rough shape. And it will be exciting to see those get back on the tax rolls, get cleaned up again, and continue to get the word out that we’re cleaning up things in Clinton County,” said the assistant prosecutor. He was hired earlier this year to spend most of his time on blighted properties, delinquent taxes, and zoning.

Over the past month, the prosecutor’s office assisted in the transfer to private ownership of a U.S. 68 North property known to many as the former Lumberton Family Restaurant in Lumberton.

At least four foreclosures are in the queue to be filed, Dickman said Wednesday.

The prosecutor’s office has assisted the Clinton County Building & Zoning Department in a revised 30-day notice letter to property owners who are the subjects of written complaints.

“The Building & Zoning Department has received 10 written complaints and has sent out 30-day notices to all seven property owners of record. Several of those property owners have worked diligently to begin cleaning up those properties,” stated Dickman.

He said the prosecutor’s office wants to remind people that in county-zoned areas, complaints for tall grass must be related to a vermin infestation or other health- and safety-related reasons.

“This is the conversation that we all had,” Dickman said to commissioners. “We don’t want to be going after people for just tall grass. Now if there are coyotes living in the tall grass, or snakes or raccoons or mosquito infestations — then those are instances where we would prosecute.”

All complaints must be in writing, he said. A new resolution that allows for anonymous written complaints will be completed late this fall, said the assistant prosecutor.

When that happens, Dickman anticipates there will be an influx of written complaints submitted from the public.

At the close of Dickman’s appointment, Clinton County Commissioners President Kerry R. Steed told him if there are resources he feels are required to continue in his “Clean Up Clinton County” work, then “by all means please present that in forthcoming reports to us … so we can assess whether we can add it to the budget or not.”

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/08/web1_cmykOFFICIAL-CLINTON-COUNTY-OHIO-SEAL.jpg

The Clinton County Land Bank, in collaboration with the Clinton County Prosecutor’s Office, recently acquired this property located in Vernon Township.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/08/web1_9000_block_p.jpgThe Clinton County Land Bank, in collaboration with the Clinton County Prosecutor’s Office, recently acquired this property located in Vernon Township. Submitted photo

By Gary Huffenberger

ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com