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County Commission in process of adopting ordinances to address

by Jennifer Biller

STAFF WRITER

The Harrison County Commission is in the process of adopting two ordinances to address citizens' complaints about properties that pose health and safety issues and obstructions of rights of way.

The ordinances would give the county authority to pursue legal action against a property owner if a complaint is substantiated and the owner fails to remedy the situation.

The creation of the ordinances stems from continued complaints from residents, who are tired of unsightly and unsafe areas in their neighborhoods.

A handful of citizens were at Monday's commission meeting to voice various grievances about home sites that are currently creating health and safety problems.

The group cited open trash piles, raw sewage and abandoned, dilapidated houses as some of the nuisances in their communities.

"The absence of ordinances has not allowed us to address these eyesores previously, so we're really glad this has come about," said President Beth Taylor. "We've been concerned with this during my entire 11-year tenure, and until now we didn't have a legal vehicle to enforce cleanup."

Any complaints filed would be investigated through the planning commission office and a report would be made to the commissioners, according to Terry Schulte, planning commission director.

The county has also received complaints about the obstruction of road rights of way in subdivisions and on orphan roads, which are not controlled by the state Division of Highways, Schulte said. The new ordinance would also give the county a method to address those situations, she said.

"This is a plus for all homeowners, because for anyone who owns real estate, the appearance of a neighboring property has an effect on your property either positively or negatively," Taylor said.

In other business the commission:

n approved the county budget of $13,111,735 for the 2001-2002 fiscal year.

n appointed Roger Diaz to the Harrison County Parks and Recreation Board.

n appointed new commissioner Jim Smith to the Harrison-Clarksburg Board of Health, Department of Health and Human Resources Board, Area Council on Aging for Region VI, Harrison County Landmarks Commission, Harrison County Development Authority and the Benedum Airport Authority Board.

Staff writer Jennifer Biller can be reached at 626-1449 or jbiller@exponent-telegram.com.

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