Property maintenance ordinance takes effect in April


After months of discussion and tweaking, a property maintenance ordinance has been passed for Dubois County.

The ordinance consolidates the county’s junk and weed ordinances into one and is more restrictive on what constitutes a junk violation. The Dubois County Commissioners passed the ordinance, which was recommended by the Dubois County Solid Waste District Board, on Monday.

One of the major changes in the consolidated ordinance is what constitutes a violation. A violation can be assessed for having accumulated trash and junk that can be seen from a road’s right of way or a neighboring property. In the second case, the neighbor must give district workers permission to view the junk or trash from the neighboring property. In the past, junk had to be within 500 feet of the right of way to be a violation.

The new ordinance also includes a daily fine and the stipulation that any complaints by a person must be given in writing. Currently a complaint form is being created and will be available at the highway department, solid waste district center and online.

Resident Gene Thieman, who attended the Dubois County Solid Waste Management District Board meeting Monday morning, said that he appreciated the work that is being done to keep the county clean.

“I think everybody wants to see this county in clean and good shape,” he said. “There are roadways we clean up all the time. People take pride in this county.”

At the same time, he said, some people are unaware of the rules.

“I don’t think a lot of people are aware of the ordinances as they are,” he said. “People I’ve talked to have no idea what the regulations are.”

Jasper Mayor Dean Vonderheide, a solid waste district board member, said that some people have expressed concerns about having to put their name on a form to complain about a problem area.

“The ordinance is being put in place to protect those people who are having this problem,” said Commissioner Elmer Brames, who is president of the board.

Vonderheide agreed. “If they haven’t been able to work this out themselves,” he said, “then they have this [solution to turn to].”

The commissioners heard at their meeting that the ordinance will go into effect in early April, after it is published twice in The Herald and Ferdinand News. The ordinance must be published since it assesses a fine.

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