Commissioners tour properties

PARKERSBURG – During a tour Thursday, Wood County commissioners inspected properties containing junked vehicles, trash and debris which have been the subject of complaints to the county.

The officials looked over Emerson Manor Trailer Court on West Virginia 2 and properties in the neighborhood around Keith, Victory streets, and Power Avenue.

Ultimately Thursday, the commissioners voted to give the Keith, Victory streets and Power Avenue property owners another 90 days to clean up; seeing what they termed substantial progress at the Emerson Manor Trailer Court, they asked John Reed, county compliance officer, for updated progress reports on that property.

“They are making good progress, just keep us apprised,” Commissioner Blair Couch said.

“It’s kind of a breath of fresh air to some extent. We saw pictures of what that trailer court looked like before and it was atrocious, but it looks much better now. Thanks to John Reed’s enforcement efforts, and the cooperation he’s received, they are making tremendous progress, with only a few trailers left. As the trailers are moved out, the site is being seeded and it looks far better than it did before, so there will be a real turnaround here,” commission president Wayne Dunn said.

“I appreciate all the cooperative efforts. It is important to make sure these clean-up projects are done because we have people looking to live and bring in business and it is a reflection of the entire community,” Dunn said.

During a report to the commission last week, Reed said at the Emerson Manor Trailer Court, there were originally 41 units. The trailer court was ultimately closed down, then there were problems with vandalism, according to Reed.

During their visit Thursday, commissioners were told there are nine trailers remaining to be removed from the property in addition to leftover debris remaining when other trailers were moved out.

“They will all be gone at some point,” Reed said.

The trailer court, which used to be known as Halls Trailer Court, has been closed for some time, officials said; complaints began coming in last year.

As to the properties on Keith and Victory streets and Power Avenue, “It’s a matter of how much time should be allowed to have the properties cleaned up. I was working with the property owners to get these cleaned, but the Wood County (Dilapidated and Abandoned) Building Commission felt it was not being done fast enough,” Reed told the commissioners Thursday.

The first complaints on these properties came in about three years ago, according to reports.

“As you can see from the photographs I took of the original condition of these properties, they have made substantial progress,” Reed said.

“Part of the problem is that they clean it up some, then two weeks later it comes back,” said Bill Brown, county engineer.

Under the county Abandoned/Dilapidated Building ordinance, safety and health complaints regarding rural properties are forwarded to Reed and Brown who investigate and report their findings to the enforcement committee.

The committee can recommend the case be brought before the county commission. Property owners are notified in writing and the property owner can request a hearing.

If the owner fails to comply with clean-up requests, commissioners can seek bids for repairs, demolition, removal and cleanup. A lien can be placed against the property so the county can recoup the cost of cleanup.