Richmond Codes discusses properties

Taylor Six/The Register

The codes enforcement board met for their monthly meeting to address several properties Wednesday night. 

The Richmond Codes Enforcement Department discussed several properties that needed addressing in their monthly meeting Wednesday evening.

First was Southgate Development LLC which filed a citation appeal for a $1,000 fine for an illicit discharge.

According to the department Director Philip Williams, the business owner, Joe Robinson, had allowed oil from trucks at his business to flow into the storm water drain trickling straight to the river.

Williams said the first complaint was filed in April of 2019 for loading equipment vehicles parked in the grass in which Robinson went to the codes office and said he could not have the area cleaned up in the time allotted.

The department extended the deadline for cleanup, and still the problem was not addressed. A fine was issued and paid.

The $1,000 fine was issued recently after oil leaked from trucks at the property in question and ran into a storm drain nearby.

Williams said the $1,000 fine was the minimum price for an illicit discharge fine and that the Richmond Fire Department had to assist in the cleanup.

“All that equipment that generated that illicit discharge, we tried to reach the company over six months to address the issue and it didn’t occur,” he said.

After their executive session to determine their decision on the case, the board determined the fine would stand and asked that the issue be cleaned up.

Members of the codes board discussed the progress of a property on Elm Street.

Williams said, while he has yet to go inside the property, he believes the front has seen work with additional work done to the roof but overall the state of the property was “the same as the last meeting” in August.

Homeowner D’Juan White disagreed, saying he had fixed “gaping holes in the structure,” stripped and replaced the siding, replaced windows, did interior work and replaced 90% of rotting wood.

White said he was trying to obtain an electrical permit to be able to do work, but that the city had yet to grant him one although he had already paid for it and was licensed by the state to do so.

He said he was unsure why he wasn’t able to receive a temporary license.

“We have done a significant amount of work since the last time I was here with you all,” White said.

Chair Michael Bryant asked him how often he worked on the home, saying he drove by the house every day, twice a day since April of 2019 and he saw no updates done to the property.

“That can’t be true because if you had done that you would have seen the ongoing process of it,” White said.

“I have not seen any activity whatsoever,” Bryant replied.

White again reiterated that there had been activity done on the property and that while he wasn’t prepared with documentation that evening, he could bring some next meeting to show his progress.

The board determined White would need to meet with the codes department to address the permit issue and a meeting would need to be set up to be able to inspect the inside.

Finally, the board heard from Phillip Sowers, a former property owner on Earlene Court who was due back to update the board on his progress to the property.

Williams gave his opinion of the property saying, that while there had been some clean up to the porch, minimal work had been done on the porch and the property still sat “as is” from the last meeting.

He stated that the home was vacant, and a section of the porch had rotted so bad that a codes officer almost fell through.

“There are issues and work that still needs to be done,” Williams said.

When Sowers spoke, he informed the board that he in fact did not own the property anymore and had sold it two days prior to the meeting to a homeowner across the street.

He said the deed was being drafted currently and had yet to sign the document officially transferring the ownership.

Sowers questioned Williams as to why he had $1,900 additionally on his tax bill. Williams replied saying the additional fees were fines from previous ordinance violations at the property.

Williams explained that just because Sowers sold the home, that would not absolve the issue of the fines on his bill but simply transfer them over to the new homeowner.

According to him, the fines would only go away if he agreed to demolish the home.

“You are just transferring the nuisance to a new person which does no one any good,” Williams said.

The board stated they would need a copy of the drafted deed and the parties would go from there.

The next codes meeting will be held sometime next month.

Reach Taylor Six at 624-6623 or follow her on Twitter at @TaylorSixRR.

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