The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 23, 2014

Conneaut’s council on the prowl for clean-up concerns

Star Beacon

CONNEAUT — Less than two months on the job, Conneaut City Council members have forwarded dozens of potential housing and junk-related complaints to City Hall for investigation.

Council President Nicholas Church said this month he has passed along 50 separate possible code violations to police and Deanna Gates, planning/zoning manager, for investigation.

“This is the first list of many more to come,” Church said.

The inaugural list is a mixed bag. “Sixteen possible junk car violations, 21 houses and garages and 13 commercial buildings,” Church said.

Suspicions are based on curbside observations, not an up-close-and-personal inspection, Church said. “They don’t look to me like they would pass the International Building Code (the standard the city follows),” he said.

Since taking office, council has made the city’s appearance and housing stock a major priority. Code enforcement options have been discussed at work sessions, and council is ready to revisit a revamped version of the trash-hauling ordinance shelved last year. Council has also agreed to appropriate money to hire a code enforcement officer to give Gates a hand.

To help the city achieve its goals, Church created the Downtown and Community Clean-up committee, which he chairs. The group — which includes Gates, City Manager Tim Eggleston and the fire and police chiefs — meets monthly.

“We’re making progress,” Church said.