Legislation requested for rental property

STEUBENVILLE – City Council will be asked to consider legislation that will require landlords to register rental properties with the city and allow mandatory inspections semi-annually under certain conditions.

According to Urban Projects Director Chris Petrossi, the proposed ordinance calls for twice yearly interior and exterior inspections of a rental unit if two or more notices and orders to comply have been issued to the owner pursuant to the Property Maintenance Code within any two-year period and have not been complied within the time provided.

“The second reason would be if the owner has been convicted of a violation of the Property Maintenance Code or if the owner has had a premise ordered demolished,” explained Petrossi.

The Planning and Zoning Commission meeting scheduled for Monday night saw only two members attend the session and Petrossi said he will submit an administrative request for City Council to consider the proposed legislation.

“I see this as a tool. I can only think of a handful of times since 2008 when we would have had to use language like this. I don’t see it being used daily. But it is there to be used if need be. The vast majority of landlords who came to past meetings are not the problem. Most landlords have addressed problems,” Petrossi said at the March planning commission meeting.

The second ordinance to be submitted to council allows neighborhood residents to petition and then vote to limit future rental properties in their district.

The two commission members held a second public hearing on the 2014 fiscal year Community Development Block Grant consolidated plan that saw requests for anti-crime surveillance cameras, funding for a city bike trail. improvements for Beatty Park and the North End Park and a sidewalk improvement program.

Petrossi reported his office mailed out a seven-item questionnaire to all 39 members of the Steubenville Consolidated Planning Committee regarding strategies contained in the 2010-2014 Steubenville Consolidation Plan and received 12 completed responses.

“I am appalled at the lack of interest in what is going on in our city. We need accountability by public officials to take a more active role. I am shocked by the lack of leadership of some of our public officials. Can’t we have 139 questionnaires sent out?” declared seasonal resident Rick Yanch.

Yanch and a Pleasant Heights resident asked Petrossi to consider using CDBG funds for more crime surveillance cameras.

“And there are cities currently considering using drones to fight crime. There has to be a better approach in this city. More people would like to come here, but noting gets done,” added Yanch.

First Ward Councilman Gerald DiLoreto requested CDBG money for a fence to be installed around the Beatty Park basketball court.

“When the kids are playing basketball the ball will go into the creek or across the road and someone may get hurt,” said DiLoreto.

He also asked for Desden Avenue to be considered for paving.

Fourth Ward Councilwoman Angela Suggs asked for funding for improvements to the North End Park as well as replacing missing or damaged street light poles and signs in the Historic North Fourth Street district.

“I would also request you to consider a sidewalk program for homeowners, especially when we pave their streets. I have seen streets repaved but the same old sidewalks are still there. Maybe we can start a program for sidewalk replacement for homeowners,” stated Suggs.

(Gossett can be contacted at dgossett@heraldstaronline.com.)