LIMA — Lima Deputy Law Director Anthony DiPietro told the Lima Housing Task Force that the best way to deal with nuisance properties is to respectfully engage in a two-way conversation.
“Bringing down the hammer isn’t always the best result because they want to comply. They just need the time or means to be able to comply,” DiPietro said of nuisance property owners. “One thing I also keep in mind — I deal with the citizens of the city and I want there to be that mutual respect. I’ve had people that I’ve prosecuted in the municipal court after the proceedings come up and shake my hand. I don’t think it’s because I’m that good of a guy. I think it’s because that I prosecuted them in such a way that they understand the reasoning behind what’s going on,” DiPietro said.
DiPietro spoke about the legalities concerning nuisance properties to The Lima Housing Task Force during its meeting Tuesday
He praised property maintenance code inspectors employed by the Department of Community Development, calling them the frontline workers for nuisance abatement action.
“They issue notices of violation for things like grass that’s too tall, garbage unlawfully piled in the yard, busted out windows, things like that. They track the progress of remediation of the property and try to work with those owners to help keep them on task and keep them on the road to the rehabilitation of the property,” DiPietro said.
An abatement plan is generally a way to resolve nuisance complaints.
“Generally speaking there are three types of abatement plans under the city code: There’s the Rehabilitation Plan, the Property Sales Plan and the Demolition Plan. Each of these plans comes up with final results,” DiPietro said.
If an abatement plan isn’t followed, there are steps the City of Lima can follow.
“The law department can file civil proceedings in the Common Pleas Court or the Municipal Court as appropriate to get a court order mandating compliance or the law department can seek other remedies as allowed by law,” DiPietro said. “One thing to keep in mind is the owner always has rights. There’s always something to argue and for every notice for violation, for every order. for every nuisance finding the public nuisance administrator makes, all of those can be appealed. Those are appealed through the Board of Building Appeals.”
Legal filings can bring a stop to an immediate problem.
“Through the Common Pleas Court, the city can also obtain injunctions and restraining orders that can require and order to stop certain activity on the premises, such as stopping new construction or that can stop the premises from being used in a certain way if that use constitutes a nuisance, whether it’s unlawful parties, the unlawful operation of a bar etc.
Reach Sam Shriver, reporter, at 567-242-0409.