By Steven Miller
Bath-DeWitt Connection staff writer
At the Bath city council’s latest meeting, one topic was the subject of extensive scrutiny and discussion: the international property maintenance code ordinance.
As of now, there is no standard being held for properties that are either dangerous or detrimental to the surrounding community. When people are leasing businesses or housing from landlords, they may not have recourse if they are not happy with the condition of their property.
Bath’s council members are attempting to pass an ordinance to address this issue, or ‘perceived issue’, as board member Walter Pelt suggested.
“Once again, we are having our community do something that is already in place. There is a department that already investigates environmental safety issues…there is a group there. Now we are going to take their role? I do not see the need for this.”
Bath’s Zoning Administrator is Bert Gale. He defended the ordinance when he was called to the stand.
“I get lots of calls from tenant who are having issues, and I listen to them. When they get done speaking, normally my answer is ‘I’d love to help you, the problem is that the township doesn’t have any tools for us to come down, site the problem, and send a violation notice to whoever owns the home.”
Gale also stated that the Tri-County Health Department is not able to help with electrical or carbon monoxide issues.
The ordinance also aims to make Bath a ‘vibrant’ community, and some board members began a separate discussion about whether it is their responsibility to make the community vibrant, and whether that is necessary at all.
The ordinance would not apply to owner occupied homes, and is directed towards people who are leasing their properties.
The discussion lasted well over thirty minutes, with some conflicting ideas about the language of the ordinance amongst the board members. Certain board members plan to look deeper in to the issue, and see exactly what larger agencies can do to help remedy these problems.
It was ultimately decided that the ordinance will again be brought up as a point of discussion at the next board meeting on August 1st.
The ordinance code can be found in the meeting’s agenda. It begins at page 20.