Bexley News

Officials seek legal backing to act against nuisance sites


Bexley City Council is considering new legislation designed to give the city tools for holding landlords accountable for properties that are the subjects of a disproportionate amount of police and code enforcement calls.

At their May 13 meeting, council members held the first reading of an ordinance that would allow the city "to repair or improve code violations and collect the expenses associated with said work in instances where property owners fail, neglect or refuse to comply with the requirements of code enforcement notices."

Another new ordinance is designed to assist the city in ongoing efforts to increase safety and promote redevelopment in the Ferndale Place and Mayfield Place neighborhoods in southwest Bexley.

That ordinance would "create the Ferndale and Mayfield Place residential rehabilitation grant program to provide matching grants to residential property owners and tenants on Ferndale Place and Mayfield Place for qualifying landscape and trash enclosure improvements."

Steve Keyes, chairman of council's Zoning Committee, introduced both ordinances.

Attorney Joe Durham with the law firm Eastman and Smith, who is consulting with the city, answered council members' questions about the legislation and other strategies to address public nuisances.

"The properties we've looked at have numerous calls for service and they're taking up a tremendous amount of the city's resources," Durham said.

Citing an example, Mayor Ben Kessler said two properties on Ferndale Place have had an excessive number of code violations and police service calls in recent years. Problems at the two properties have been reduced since one changed ownership and tenants at the other property moved out, Kessler said.

When asked by council members how many code violations and calls for police response could cause the city to declare a property a public nuisance and take legal action, Durham said the city will have to define that number.

"Those are the types of things you would have to address with the legislation," Durham said.

Council is scheduled to hold the second readings of both ordinances at its Tuesday, May 27, meeting, set for 6 p.m. in council chambers at Bexley City Hall, 2242 E. Main St.