‘Cracking the codes’: Department works to uphold city’s standards


Department works to uphold city’s standards

By Tom Barr - [email protected]



A photo of 291 W. Main St. from the city’s case file.

A photo of 291 W. Main St. from the city’s case file.


City of Wilmington Code Enforcement

A photo of 294 S. Walnut St. from the city’s case file.


City of Wilmington Code Enforcement

The city’s Code Enforcement Department handles a variety of violations regarding exterior property maintenance, junk vehicles, litter, grass and weeds, infestations, interior property issues, and other property issues. This is a chart of the various violations opened in 2021.


City of Wilmington Code Enforcement

A rear view of 889 Rombach Ave. from the city’s case file.


City of Wilmington Code Enforcement

Motorists entering downtown Wilmington via Rombach Avenue are greeted with the adjoining properties at 889 Rombach, top, and 873 Rombach, bottom. There are ongoing court cases brought against the owner by the the City of Wilmington, which alleges the properties are not in compliance with many city codes — despite much correspondence to the owner over the past year-plus, informing the owner of the alleged non-compliance.


Tom Barr | News Journal

Motorists entering downtown Wilmington via Rombach Avenue are greeted with the adjoining properties at 889 Rombach, top, and 873 Rombach, bottom. There are ongoing court cases brought against the owner by the the City of Wilmington, which alleges the properties are not in compliance with many city codes — despite much correspondence to the owner over the past year-plus, informing the owner of the alleged non-compliance.


Tom Barr | News Journal

If you have questions regarding possible violations or wish to report violations with the City of Wilmington:

• Call 937-382-6509

• Email [email protected]

• Visit www.wilmingtonoh.org and under the “Municipal Services” tab, click on “Code Enforcement”; this form can be submitted anonymously

• U.S. Mail: Code Enforcement Department, 69 N. South St.,Wilmington, OH 45177

WILMINGTON — The City of Wilmington Code Enforcement Department “strives to fairly and efficiently enforce and uphold the Codes and Ordinances while protecting the public health, safety, and welfare of our residents, businesses, owners, and visitors,” according to its annual report for the State of the City 2021.

The city “accepts complaints from citizens as well as other local departments and agencies regarding violations of the City’s Property Maintenance and Zoning Codes. The department then investigates each complaint and determines a course of action.”

Some examples

Examples of property or code violations include: litter and trash; tall grass (exceeding 10 inches April 15 through October 31); overgrown trees and shrubs (on sidewalks, roads, etc.); structural issues — roofing, windows, siding, general disrepair; vacant unsecured property; junk cars or RVs; damaged, uneven or broken sidewalks; and even shopping carts.

For more information, visit https://bit.ly/3EiR4P1 .

How notices work

“Violations of the zoning and property maintenance codes are addressed by issuing formal violation notices and working with the property owner and/or tenants to bring their property into compliance within a specified time frame,” according to Annen Vance of the Code Enforcement Department. “If property owners are not compliant, the cases are then turned over to the City Prosecutor and criminal charges are filed in Municipal Court.”

In the annual report, she stated that in August 2021, the Code Enforcement Department “began working on other strategies for compliance with City Ordinances.

“For specific violations, the department first issues a general warning, sent by mail or posted at the property, regarding potential violations. This practice has saved time and resources and many of these violation warnings were quickly remedied by the property owner or tenant, without needing to open a formal case.

“Working closely with the Sanitation, Street, and Wastewater Departments, we have been able to identify potential problems, and then notify citizens about the proper practices of removing trash and recycling containers, obstructions left in the right-of-way, and hazards to the storm drains. This program has had a 95 percent success rate, with only a handful of violations escalating to open Code Enforcement cases.”

Vance reported that, in 2021, 263 code enforcement cases were opened, with 223 of those resolved and closed.

Current cases in court

The News Journal today begins what will be periodic updates from alleged code violations to cases that are being adjudicated through the court.

The following information is provided by the City of Wilmington Code Enforcement Department, as well as court information on the Clinton County Municipal Court website.

The below information includes active cases of violations alleged by the Code Enforcement Department and charged by the city prosecutor in Clinton County Municipal Court. It also includes the latest status in court as well as any verdicts/sentences handed down in court.

The below four properties are owned by three different people/entities. Further details will be provided by the News Journal after cases are adjudicated in court.

• 294 S. Walnut St. — 5 alleged violations: Public Nuisance; Litter; Infestation; Sanitation; Junk Vehicle Prohibitions. All 3rd-degree misdemeanors.

Status: Final pre-trial hearing 1 p.m. May 3; filed in court Nov. 3

• 291 W. Main St. — 7 alleged violations: Public Nuisance (2); Exterior Maintenance (3); Litter; Outdoor Storage. Minor misdemeanor, 3rd- and 4th-degree misdemeanors.

Status: Final pre-trial hearing 1 p.m. May 12; filed in court Dec. 3

• 889 Rombach Ave. — 6 alleged violations: Public Nuisance (2); Property Maintenance (3); Litter. 3rd- and 4th-degree misdemeanors.

Status: Final pre-trial hearing 1 p.m. May 4; filed in court Dec. 16

• 873 Rombach Ave. — 2 alleged violations: Exterior Maintenance; Litter. 3rd-degree misdemeanors.

A court affidavit notes the first notice of the condition(s) of 889 Rombach and 873 Rombach was sent on March 22, 2021; a second sent on April 12, 2021; a third sent on June 10, 2021; and a final one was sent on October 7, 2021. “No repairs or improvements have been made to this property,” a recent city report alleges.

Status: Final pre-trial hearing 1 p.m. May 4; filed in court Dec. 16

Classification

According to the city, all code enforcement cases which result in charges filed in court by the prosecutor are classified as “criminal”:

• A minor misdemeanor is a “fine only” offense with a maximum fine of $150.

• 4th-degree misdemeanors carry a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.

• 3rd-degree misdemeanors carry a maximum sentence of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

A photo of 291 W. Main St. from the city’s case file.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/04/web1_291-w-main-3.jpgA photo of 291 W. Main St. from the city’s case file. City of Wilmington Code Enforcement

A photo of 294 S. Walnut St. from the city’s case file.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/04/web1_294-s-walnut-3.jpgA photo of 294 S. Walnut St. from the city’s case file. City of Wilmington Code Enforcement

The city’s Code Enforcement Department handles a variety of violations regarding exterior property maintenance, junk vehicles, litter, grass and weeds, infestations, interior property issues, and other property issues. This is a chart of the various violations opened in 2021.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/04/web1_chart-3.jpgThe city’s Code Enforcement Department handles a variety of violations regarding exterior property maintenance, junk vehicles, litter, grass and weeds, infestations, interior property issues, and other property issues. This is a chart of the various violations opened in 2021. City of Wilmington Code Enforcement

A rear view of 889 Rombach Ave. from the city’s case file.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/04/web1_rear-of-889-rombach-3.jpgA rear view of 889 Rombach Ave. from the city’s case file. City of Wilmington Code Enforcement

Motorists entering downtown Wilmington via Rombach Avenue are greeted with the adjoining properties at 889 Rombach, top, and 873 Rombach, bottom. There are ongoing court cases brought against the owner by the the City of Wilmington, which alleges the properties are not in compliance with many city codes — despite much correspondence to the owner over the past year-plus, informing the owner of the alleged non-compliance.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/04/web1_front-left-of-873-rombach-cr-3.jpgMotorists entering downtown Wilmington via Rombach Avenue are greeted with the adjoining properties at 889 Rombach, top, and 873 Rombach, bottom. There are ongoing court cases brought against the owner by the the City of Wilmington, which alleges the properties are not in compliance with many city codes — despite much correspondence to the owner over the past year-plus, informing the owner of the alleged non-compliance. Tom Barr | News Journal

Motorists entering downtown Wilmington via Rombach Avenue are greeted with the adjoining properties at 889 Rombach, top, and 873 Rombach, bottom. There are ongoing court cases brought against the owner by the the City of Wilmington, which alleges the properties are not in compliance with many city codes — despite much correspondence to the owner over the past year-plus, informing the owner of the alleged non-compliance.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/04/web1_straight-on-889-rombach-cr-3.jpgMotorists entering downtown Wilmington via Rombach Avenue are greeted with the adjoining properties at 889 Rombach, top, and 873 Rombach, bottom. There are ongoing court cases brought against the owner by the the City of Wilmington, which alleges the properties are not in compliance with many city codes — despite much correspondence to the owner over the past year-plus, informing the owner of the alleged non-compliance. Tom Barr | News Journal
Department works to uphold city’s standards

By Tom Barr

[email protected]

If you have questions regarding possible violations or wish to report violations with the City of Wilmington:

• Call 937-382-6509

• Email [email protected]

• Visit www.wilmingtonoh.org and under the “Municipal Services” tab, click on “Code Enforcement”; this form can be submitted anonymously

• U.S. Mail: Code Enforcement Department, 69 N. South St.,Wilmington, OH 45177