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Spring Hope outlaws overgrown yards, junk cars

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SPRING HOPE — Tired of seeing overgrown lawns, trash-strewn yards and abandoned automobiles, the Spring Hope Board of Commissioners has put teeth into the town’s nuisance abatement rules.

Town officials will now be able to tackle blight head-on thanks to the beefed-up ordinance, approved in a unanimous vote at Monday night’s town board meeting.

Intervention in problems like deteriorating and dilapidated properties has previously been complaint-driven. Now town officials will not need resident solicitation to identify problems and assess penalties.

The new rules were drafted after revitalization discussions between commissioners, the planning board, the downtown development board and community members, said Town Manager Jae Kim.

The ordinance will allow town staff to effectively address ongoing issues with a consistent enforcement process, Kim said.

Recommending approval of the ordinance, the planning board concluded addressing nuisances to be in the public interest and the new ordinance to be consistent with the town’s comprehensive plans, which recognize the need for safe, attractive and affordable housing choices.

Unlawful under the ordinance are overgrown weeds; collections of stagnant water; concentrations of combustible refuse, building material rubbish, garbage or animal waste; and junked, wrecked or abandoned vehicles.

The ordinance describes junk as any furniture, appliances, machinery, equipment, building fixtures, automotive parts, tires or other similar items.

The town can now issue fines and proceed with nuisance abatement if property owners or occupants refuse to clean up the blight within 10 days of notification.

Decisions by the town manager can be appealed to the town board, which can affirm, modify or reverse such a decision.