County’s junk, weed ordinance almost complete


A proposed consolidation of the county’s junk and weed ordinances is close to being complete.

Members of the Dubois County Solid Waste Management District board and staff worked with the Dubois County Highway Department Monday on the proposal, currently being called the proposed property maintenance ordinance.

The group went through definition and wording changes and discussed some of the changes that would be in the ordinance.

One of the big changes is in how violations are noted. Any visible trash and junk that can be seen from a road’s right of way will be a violation, which is different from the current ordinance that says the junk can’t be within 500 feet of the right of way.

Also, if trash and junk is visible from neighboring property, that is a violation; but the neighbor must give district workers permission to view the junk or trash from the neighboring property.

According to the draft ordinance, if a person makes a complaint, it must be in writing. The person with the complaint will have to fill out a short form and submit it or email it to the district.

While board member Dean Vonderheide agreed that the complaint should be in writing, he was concerned that the written notice would deter people from making a complaint. “Some people may not want to put their name on it,” he said. But all agreed that if the problem is important to the person, that person needs to fill out the complaint form.

Board member Chad Blessinger pointed out that public officials could fill out the complaint, including in cases when a person brings the matter to the official’s attention.

Solid waste board members also talked about the definition of “visible” when it comes to a potential violation, and how far solid waste officials should go onto a person’s property to see the violation that is filed in the complaint. They also talked about fines for violations and how those would be dispensed by the commissioners, the body that acts as judge in violation offenses.

Board members will get a new draft of the proposed ordinance, and discuss it at their next meeting, which will be at 7:30 a.m. Monday, March 18, on the first floor of the Dubois County Courthouse Annex, 602 Main St., Jasper. If they agree with the proposal, they will recommend the ordinance to the Dubois County Commissioners, the board that gives final approval to county ordinances.

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