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Community News

New Franklin targeting problem properties

6/27/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

NEW FRANKLIN — New Franklin city officials have filed a lawsuit to force owners of two residences in the city that require significant clean up to address the problems.

At the June 19 New Franklin City Council meeting, Law Director Tom Musarra said the two cases were filed June 13 and include homes at 1443 W. Turkeyfoot Lake Road and 705 Highland Park Drive.

In the past, neighbors have attended Council meetings to discuss the unsightly homes and to ask the city for help in remedying the problems.

According to city officials, both homes are vacant and have numerous violations of the city zoning code and Summit County Building and Health departments’ regulations.

According to Zoning Administrator Barry Ganoe, the West Turkeyfoot Lake Road home is a “seriously dilapidated house” with a collapsed roof, broken out windows and animals living inside the house. He also said there is a “hoarder-type” condition and reports of people “hanging out” at the home.

Ganoe said the Highland Park Drive house has holes in the roof and soffits, water in the basement, collapsed interior ceilings and animals living in the house. Ganoe added that city officials have been working to address the problems since 2010.

In the lawsuits, city officials claim the owners have maintained unsafe and uninhabitable structures and have been asked numerous times to address the problems but have failed to do so. City officials also state the homes are a danger to the health, welfare and safety of area residents, and they are also a nuisance and are subject to abatement.

City officials are asking the judge in each case to be allowed to enter the property and eliminate the zoning code violations, and to put a lien on the property for all costs incurred in doing so.

“We are looking to force the property owners to clean them up or demolish them,” said Musarra.

Musarra explained at the meeting that the owners of the two properties were being served with the lawsuit, and the case is not likely to be heard until the fall in the Summit County Common Pleas Court. The Highland Park Drive case will be heard by Judge Alison McCarty, and the West Turkeyfoot Lake Road case will come before Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands. No court dates have been set yet.

In the meantime, Council has been looking at tightening the city’s zoning code. One proposed ordinance would amend and clarify the definition of accessory buildings and structures, and another would add that all structures must comply with standards and requirements of health code regulations administered by Summit County Public Health. Both ordinances are before the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission awaiting a recommendation, and then will return to Council, which will set public hearings on each.

Council did approve on first reading a resolution appropriating an inheritance tax of $120,688.59, with $107,500 to be used to purchase Sisler Field from the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland.

Also during the meeting, Mayor Al Bollas announced that roadwork on state Route 619 that has closed it to traffic heading east of Manchester Road is almost complete, and the road will be open for the July 6 fireworks. However, the road then will close to traffic heading west of Manchester Road.

Bollas also said a disaster recovery policy for city services (not police or fire, which have their own) is under development, as recommended by the state auditor. Bollas said city operations would move to the Tudor House on Latham Lane should disaster strike City Hall.

City officials also are looking for residents to serve on the Parks Commission to replace Joe Slayman, who died recently. Applicants can submit letters of interest until Aug. 1 at City Hall, 5611 Manchester Road, Akron, OH 44319.

The next regular New Franklin Council meeting will take place July 17 starting at 6 p.m. at City Hall. The first meeting of the month is canceled due to the Independence Day holiday.

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