County gives deadline for cleanup of run-down property

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

A property that has been under order to be cleaned up may ultimately be cleaned by the county.

The Dubois County Commissioners told Julie Greener Monday that she has until April 4 to remove derelict vehicles and a semitrailer from the property she owns at 571 E. County Road 300N, as well as trash and items of value that have filled a pole barn on her property.

If she doesn’t, the county will look to take further action, including hiring a company to remove everything and charging the bill to the Greener or to the property as a lien.

The property came to the commissioners’ attention last year through the county health department.

A hearing about the property was held July 3, at which time the health department showed the commissioners evidence from an inspection of the property on May 31, including bags of trash and debris stacked up in and around the house and pole barn, in six vehicles and in a semitrailer; a hole in the house’s roof, which was another hazard; and drums of standing water that had mosquito larvae growing in it.

The health department said it had received numerous complaints from neighbors who live near the property.

The commissioners are the Hearing Authority Board under the county’s unsafe buildings ordinance.

They declared the property as a public nuisance at the hearing, agreeing with the Dubois County Health Department that the site is unsafe and a danger to public health.

The house has since been demolished and the debris and overgrown vegetation has been removed.

But as of January, the pole barn was still full, Shawn Werner, environmental health specialist with the health department, said Monday. He said it’s so full that someone can’t enter the barn.

“We don’t know what the structure and integrity of the poles in there are, because we can’t see them,” Werner said. The trailer and vehicles also remain, he confirmed.

Greener, who attended Monday’s commissioners meeting, said she hasn’t been able to do much lately. “The weather has not been favorable to work on anything,” she said. “There is no electricity there, so there are no lights at night. And I have to work in the day.”

But she and friends are willing to go on the weekends to work, if the weather cooperates, she said.

Greener explained that she is keeping the trailer for now to put in it the items that she wants to keep. Her hope is to have a yard sale at some point, she said. But she will work on getting rid of the vehicles, she said.

She mentioned that there are two or three people interested in purchasing the property. Werner said that maybe that deal could be worked out to give Greener some extra money to help with the cleanup.

Greener said she’d rather have it all cleaned out before she sold the property.

“I’m working all I can,” she said. “I’m willing to work more once the weather breaks.”

She requested that she be allowed to work into April, May or June.

The commissioners did not agree, stating that this has been a problem for years, way before the commissioners got involved last summer.

“This has been going on for a while,” Commissioner Elmer Brames told Greener. “You need help with that project. And we have a responsibility to the community. We need to move forward.”

Commissioner Nick Hostetter agreed. “This has gone on long enough,” he said. “You got the house down. But other stuff needs to be done, too. You had [time] from June.”

With that, the April 4 deadline was enacted by the commissioners.




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