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Village raises standards for rental properties

5/23/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Emily Chesnic

LAKEMORE — By enacting one piece of legislation, Lakemore is improving every aspect of the community, said Village Solicitor Becky Doherty during the May 21 Lakemore Council meeting.

After a public hearing was held on the matter, Council unanimously approved an ordinance adopting a rental property maintenance code, which requires the registration and inspection of all residential rental units in the village.

“This is very comprehensive and will go a long way in improving rental properties in Lakemore,” Doherty said.

Mayor Rick Justice reported long hours were spent constructing the new code and examining similar codes in nearby municipalities.

The code will raise housing standards, improve property values and attract more families and businesses to Lakemore, he said.

Per the approved code, the village will maintain a registry of owners and occupants of all rental units. Each rental unit must be registered, with payment of the registration fee, by the owner within 90 days of May 21 and annually by the 15th of January each year. The fee schedule is $30 per single-family structure and $45 per structure with two- to six-rental units and $60 per structure with seven or more rental units, according to the code. Upon initial registration, each rental unit will be inspected, both interior and exterior, to ensure the safety and welfare of the residents. Each structure/unit then will be inspected every two years at the direction of the village zoning inspector, per the legislation.

The code provides standards for the inside and outside of each rental property and addresses lighting, plumbing, pipes, room sizes, ventilation, heating, fire safety and sanitary maintenance, among other aspects.

The code also calls for each unit to be free of mold and mildew and for the following to be in sound condition and in good repair: roofs, floors, floor coverings, walls, foundations, ceilings, windows, stairs, handrails, guardrails, drainage system, screens, chimneys, vents, gutters, downspouts, exterior finish, breaker panels, electrical wiring, appliances, heating system, water heaters, closets, doors, porches and other structural components.

Failure to register rental properties will be considered a violation, Doherty has explained. The zoning inspector will keep a record of all inspections and violations, and noncompliance issues must be corrected in a timely manner to avoid fines. According to the approved code, fines will be $100 for a first offense, $500 for a second offense and $1,000 for a third offense.

During the public hearing held concerning the code, no one spoke against the legislation.

Justice said most landlords in the village support the code.

“This is something the village can enforce and property owners can abide by,” Doherty added.

Also during the regular meeting, Council:

  • appointed Fiscal Officer Tracy Fast as delegate for the Regional Council of Governments for the Regional Income Tax Agency and Councilman Chad Lance as the alternate delegate;
  • approved a contract with Time Warner Cable for five years, at a cost of about $53 a month, for high-speed Internet service at the water system at 2827 Sanitarium Road;
  • heard the second reading of a resolution authorizing Justice to accept the offer from FirstMerit Bank to become the depository of village funds until Feb. 14, 2017;
  • heard the first reading of a resolution to close Springfield Lake July 5-7 to all people except those authorized by Lakemore Council for the Three Rivers Outboard Racing Association’s boat races; and
  • heard the first reading of a resolution appointing Jay Zedak as a probationary volunteer firefighter/EMT for the fire department.

In other village business, Justice said Council soon would open bids for the installation of well no. 5 at the village’s well field.

Additionally, the Lakemore Firefighter Association’s annual pancake breakfast will be held May 27 from 9 a.m. to noon at the fire station, 1400 Main St. The cost is free, but donations will be accepted. Pancakes, juice and coffee will be served. Free smoke detectors will be provided to village residents, as well. Village officials said the annual Memorial Day parade will follow at 1 p.m.

The next regular Council meeting will take place June 3 at 7 p.m. at the Municipal Building, 1400 Main St.

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