Tuesday, July 17, 2001

Covington's arsenal grows in blight fight




By Amanda York
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — The city has a new weapon to use in the fight against unsightly properties. Since its beginning in November, the Code Enforcement Board, a six-member panel that takes action against negligent property owners, has heard 113 cases, said Howard Hodge, housing development director.

        “The City Commission has set housing code enforcement as a top priority, and this was an addition to the arsenal of weapons the city can use to fight blighted properties,” Mr. Hodge said.

        One property owner last week was ordered to pay $2,000, the largest fine issued so far, for “general deterioration on the inside and outside,” he said.

        Mr. Hodge said the owner of the property in the 400 block of Greenup Street, near the historic Licking-Riverside district, could have been fined as much as $25,000.

        The owner, Carl Arlinghaus of Fort Mitchell, says he plans to sell it to Classic Properties, a company that redevelops houses.

        Mr. Hodge said the property needed to be “totally gutted and renovated.”

        Board chairman Keith Bales said the house was not atypical among those the committee deals with.

        The building, however, sits in a high-profile area.

        All the other older buildings in the neighborhood have been renovated, Mr. Bales said.

        “It is the only blighted one in that general area,” he said.

        Besides Mr. Arlinghaus' fine, Mr. Hodge said, four other fines, ranging from $100 to $300, have been issued to property own- ers.

        In the past, housing code violations went through District Court.

        The new system works more quickly.

        “With continuances after continuances (in the court system), we deal with things in a much quicker manner, and we are getting great compliance,” Mr. Bales said.

        The city issues citations for noncompliance.

        Property owners then have the right to appeal the citation to the board.

        The board decides whether to let the citation stand.

        Board members meet twice a month.

        If the citation stands, the property owners may be fined as much as $100 per day per violation.

        “Fines build up very quickly,” Mr. Bales said.

        Mr. Hodge said Mr. Arlinghaus' violations included peeling paint, deteriorating chimneys, rotting siding and screens missing from windows.

        If a property owner fixes the violations, the fine may be suspended, Mr. Hodge said.

        The fines go to the city's general fund and are used to pay the board's operating costs.
       

Other fines

               Besides the fine over the Greenup Street property, there have been four other fines not suspended by the board:

        • $100, 300 block, West 21st Street

        • $200, 900 block, Banklick Street

        • $200, 500 block, East 16th Street

        • $300, 1800 block, Scott Street

       



Local teen OK after shark bite
Police review panel wants city lawyers to butt out
Urban League might cancel '03 conference
Police focus on illegal gun sales
Unity Day crowd sees possibility of harmony
PULFER: Harmony takes a lot of practice
Cops: profiling problem small
Family recounts Alaskan rescue
Levy review committee split
Health insurance gap cited
Historic marker's return a mystery
Lebanon to renovate city headquarters
Local Digest
Parish finally has room to grow
Suer will fill spot on council
Bellevue, Dayton study fire department merger
City code enforcers keep busy
- Covington's arsenal grows in blight fight
Kenton Co. Fair a smashing good time
Newport paves way for walkway
Panera bakery-cafe coming to N.Ky.
Title IX settlement delayed
Wal-Mart faces zoning dispute
Congrats
Ohio quarter design OK'd - with edit
Artificial-heart patient exceeds expectations
Black colleges to make case for aid
Kentucky Digest