By Pat Maurer
Due to the appalling conditions of some rental properties in Surrey Township the board passed a Rental Inspection Ordinance at their meeting Tuesday evening.
Zoning Administrator Rod Williams showed some pictures of one occupied rental property where gas lines were not capped, a broken furnace had been replaced with a gas space heater hooked illegally to the gas line for the furnace, ceiling tiles were missing, kitchen cabinets were broken and nearly unusable and garbage was strewn around the back yard where a pipe was dumping waste water on the ground.
He said, “People deserved a decent, safe place to live. That’s why we developed this ordinance.”
The new ordinance, which will take effect 30 days after it is published, sets regulations designed to eliminate housing that does not comply with applicable housing and building codes and that constitute a threat to health, safety and welfare of the people residing there and to the general public.
When an owner or occupant complains, or because of referral from the Police Department or other agencies or an individual, it allows an inspector to conduct an inspection and issue a citation requiring the owner or owner’s agent to “correct violation within a specified time” or upon a “final notice” be ordered to vacate the property. The Building Official will also be able to declare a residential rental structure or unit unfit for human occupancy. Each offense will carry a $75 fine with each additional day (beyond the specified time) will be a separate offense subject to the same fine and cost and sanctions.
The Ordinance also creates a Housing Board of Appeals.
The costs for the inspections, a fee schedule, was tabled and will be determined later.
Complaints can be made to the Zoning Inspector.
Supervisor Russ Hamilton also told the board the Mill Pond Bridge on Vandecar is now under a 20 ton weight limit. He said the Village of Farwell has hired engineers to determine what needs to be done to repair or replace the bridge. The Department of Natural Resources is a partial owner of the bridge.
Other business at the regular meeting included:
*The approval to create new revenue account numbers for State reimbursement of lost personal property tax for the General Fund totaling $6,026.03 and for the Library Fund totaling $11,461.
*Approval to continue lawn care and Maintenance for the Surrey Township Hall, Cemetery, vacant property and the Transfer Facility by Ken Pitchford.
*The approval of bills totaling $34,210.39.