Updated county ‘junk’ ordinance to go into effect June 20

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Hamilton County Commissioners are looking to clean up some areas after they updated the county’s “junk ordinance” during last month’s meeting.

The new ordinance specifically prohibits the accumulation of inoperable vehicles and “junk” on private property. Junk, as defined by the ordinance, refers to discarded, abandoned or cast-off materials, including scap metals, broken glass, building materials, auto parts, furniture and mattresses and appliances, among other items. The change goes into effect June 20.

“It is in the best interest of the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Hamilton County to prohibit the accumulation of junk,” said Steve Dillinger, president of the Hamilton County Commissioners. “Not only are these yards unsightly, but they also reduce the property value of those living nearby. Some even create fire hazards, pollute surface water and attract rodents.”

With regard to inoperable vehicles, the ordinance expands the definition, referring also to disassembled, unlicensed, junked or wrecked vehicles. The ordinance states that the items will not be allowed to remain on property for more than 15 days. There are exceptions for properties legally zoned as auto sales or repair businesses.

“This ordinance also addresses excessive numbers of vehicles, operating or not,” Dillinger said. “You are no longer allowed to park more vehicles outside your garage than the number of bedrooms, as shown on your county property record card for the residential lot, plus one. So, if you have a four-bedroom home, you should not have more than five cars parked outside your garage at any time.”

Violaters will be subject to fines. Once notified of a violation, by either the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office or the director of the Hamilton County Planning Dept., the homeowner will be given up to 60 days to rectify the problem. If the property is not brought into compliance, the homeowner can be fined up to $2,500 for the first offense and up to $7,500 for future violations. If the property continues to be a problem, the county may forcibly remove any or all materials that are in violation and assess the costs of the removal to the landowner.

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