Media Relations Team
Director of Media Relations
October 4, 2018
Residents deserve a safe place to live, and no neighborhood should be an illegal dumping ground. We rolled out a plan in July to address this issue in Columbus. Many departments have been working together to implement it.
In August, 311 received a number of complaints about the appalling conditions of a Hilltop property. The front yard was piled with trash and discarded furniture, and the backyard had an industrial-size dumpster overflowing.
Code Enforcement Officer James Kohlberg issued a notice of the conditions, then proceeded to use every means possible to serve the owners. After the landlords still didn’t comply, Code Enforcement worked with the City Attorney’s Office. Under threat of jail time, they finally complied.
This is a great example of the collaborative effort being made through Refuse in Public Service in holding landlords and property owners accountable.
Another landlord failed to make necessary repairs to four of his properties, even after having criminal charges filed against him last year. He has now been sentenced to 178 days in jail.
The City Attorney also recently filed the largest public nuisance lawsuit on record against a landlord with an extensive history of continued violations. The Proactive Code Enforcement Team previously has issued notices of civil penalties to impose $1,000 daily, but that threat wasn’t enough. So the City Attorney has gone to court to seek payment which currently stands at $75,000 – and counting.
We are serious about making our neighborhoods safe. We know that piles of trash can be magnets for crime. We recently replaced 300-gallon dumpsters in alleyways in Hilltop with 90-gallon bins in front of properties when feasible. And we are committed to cutting back plants in alleyways and around streetlights to shine the light on areas that were otherwise obscured. Our plan to fight illegal dumping also includes hot spot mapping, alley cameras and light duty police officers to assist with investigations.
Since we unveiled the plan, calls to 311 with information on troubled sites have increased, and we appreciate our residents' involvement. The city is working hard – collaboratively – to make our neighborhoods safe and strong.