Despite being born and raised in the community, Grove City's new property-maintenance inspector is still getting to know the area.

Despite being born and raised in the community, Grove City's new property-maintenance inspector is still getting to know the area.

"It's amazing how many streets I'm discovering that I never knew existed," Jed Plank said. "There are all these side streets I never knew about."

Plank was hired as Grove City's full-time inspector in September.

The city previously had two part-time inspectors who worked a total of 1,612 hours for a combined salary of $34,669.41 in 2015. Plank's full-time annual salary is $41,953.60.

"Having Jed working full time will allow us to respond more quickly to complaints," said zoning director Mike Boso.

The property-maintenance inspector conducts property inspections to make sure they are in compliance with city code.

"I'm checking on residential and commercial properties and looking for vacant properties and junked or abandoned vehicles," Plank said. "It's all about ensuring the safety of the community and our neighborhoods. It also impacts property values and just helps to keep Grove City looking beautiful."

Grove City's property-maintenance regulations are based on the standards set in the International Code Council's International Property Maintenance Code, Boso said.

Most of the work is complaint-driven, Plank said.

Without a property owner's permission or a warrant, "we can only view your property from the public street or sidewalk," he said. "We're not going to be coming into your backyard."

If he receives a complaint about a property, Plank will attempt to contact the owner. If no one is home, he will place a door hanger notifying the property owner of the issue that has been raised.

Residents can file a complaint about a property using a form on the city's website or by calling 614-277-3075.

"Most people call after 5 p.m. after they come home from work," Boso said. "With Jed on board full time, he can respond and follow up the very next day."

Although some people aren't happy when he shows up, Plank said, he's found most residents are cooperative.

"Usually the violations aren't intentional," he said. "It may be something that's fallen to the bottom of their to-do list, or they may not even realize they are in violation of city code."

City officials can help arrange for volunteers to complete work residents are unable to do themselves or provide information about a Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission program that provides funds for housing rehabilitation projects for qualified residents, Plank said.

"Our focus is on compliance, not enforcement," he said. "The best part of my job is helping people take care of an issue at their property."

The amount of time a resident has to fix an issue varies depending on the issues that are involved, Boso said.

Before joining Grove City's building and zoning department, Plank worked in the property-nuisance department at Franklin County Public Health.

He said he is excited to be working on behalf of his hometown.

"It's really fulfilling to have your hand in the dough that bakes everything," Plank said.

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