County needs abandoned house ordinance

Dear Editor:

Do you remember?

* When trash littered our roads to a far greater extent than it does today?

* When dumps appeared in many out-of-view places all over our county?

* When people burned their trash in fifty-five gallon barrels, polluting our air?

* When used appliances and tires were dumped into sinkholes, contaminating our ground water and ruining the beauty of our woodlands?

* When salvage yards piled up junk cars with no fences to contain them, allowing people, including children, to enter at will, creating hazardous conditions?

I remember. In the town where I was raised, people took their trash to the public dump, where tractors continuously pushed it toward a fire that raged for days at a time creating clouds of smoke that could be seen for miles.

Today much progress has been made. Inmates of our local jail regularly pick up the trash along our roads. Civic minded groups and landowners periodically police their right-of-ways. We now have county wide trash collection—no need to burn or create an illegal dump. We now have a “dispose of tires free day”—no need to throw them in a sinkhole. We now have commercial establishments that actually buy metal and other recyclables, keeping old stoves and refrigerators out of illegal dumps. We even have monthly recycling pick-ups.

Still, all of this progress does not mean that the work is finished. There are in excess of eight hundred unoccupied and abandoned structures in Logan County, some near collapse, others quite salvageable. These unsightly structures, many overgrown and open to the elements are hazardous to our children. They reduce the property values of the neighbors who properly maintain their own property.

We have in the county the post of Solid Waste Coordinator occupied by a capable and dedicated person who takes the job very seriously and has asked certain owners to become responsible. Without an ordinance, such as those passed by other counties in the state, this person can only make a request. An ordinance, carefully worded and limited to only those unoccupied and abandoned structures, would give our Coordinator the tools he needs, and would encourage all landowners to become responsible for the structures in their care. Those who live in our towns have codes as protection from problems like these. Please ask your magistrate to reconsider this important issue.

Tom Hoover


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