Junk, weed ordinance to be more restrictive

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

Work continues on a consolidated property maintenance ordinance, which will ultimately consolidate the county’s junk and weed ordinances into one.

This week, the Dubois County Solid Waste Management District discussed the details involving changes for junk violations. And District Director Carla Striegel–Winner, explained that changes will be more restrictive than the current junk ordinance.

“More residences and businesses will be in violation,” she told the solid waste board Monday.

The definition of trash and junk will remain the same: the accumulation of combustible and non-combustible waste materials. But a big change will be that any visible trash and junk that can be seen from a road’s right of way will be a violation. The current ordinance says that 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. And the ordinance will include a maximum daily fine.

Board members discussed the amount of the fine. At the moment, the ordinance states a fine of $1,000 per day. District Attorney Art Nordhoff said that might be excessive, but added that the fine being set would be the maximum; it could be lower, depending on the violation. Striegel-Winner wants to have a high amount as a maximum fine to encourage people to take care of the problem before the fine kicks in, she explained. The board will take some time to consider the fine amount.

With the changes that are being proposed for the ordinance, an enforcement officer needs to be hired, board member John Bell said.

“We should have someone working on this on an ongoing basis, as far as making sure people are complying,” he said. “It needs to be a paid position, to have that covered. We need to assign somebody to do that.”

Right now, Randy Boehm, who is an advisory member of the board, volunteers to check out possible violations; Striegel-Winner also works on violations when she has time. She agreed that having an officer would help, but that position has to be created by the Dubois County Commissioners and funded by the Dubois County Council, she said.

The board will continue its discussion about the ordinance at its January meeting, which is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, at the Dubois County Courthouse Annex, 602 Main St., Jasper.




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