Property upkeep code will not go into effect until April
By Sally Voth -- firstname.lastname@example.org
STRASBURG -- The Town Council voted to adopt the Virginia maintenance code during its Tuesday night meeting.
The property upkeep regulations won't go into effect until April 10.
Code violations are misdemeanors, according to the amendment approved Tuesday. If someone fails to remedy a violation, there is a maximum $50 fine for the initial summons, with no more than $150 for each additional summons, according to the amendment.
The maximum penalty for any one issue is $3,000. Violators can have a trial in Shenandoah County General District Court, or waive trial, admit liability and pay the fine, the amendment says.
The Town Council approved the adoption of the code 6-1 with Councilman John "Red" Hall voting no. Councilman Don Le Vine was absent.
"People that I've talked to are very negative on the maintenance code, and did not even appreciate talking about it, let alone having a vote for it," Hall said.
Councilwoman Sarah Mauck said she'd had trouble with the code because it involves the government telling homeowners what to do with their property. But, she said, 2 percent of the population doesn't follow the rules, and that is why there are laws.
"I would say there's probably only 2 percent of the people that are in compliance," Hall said, adding he is in violation.
Town Manager Judson Rex said the code not going into effect for another four months will allow the Town Council to appoint a code official and an appeals board at the April 10 meeting. It also will give a grace period to homeowners who receive notifications of violation to come up to code.
Rex said the town has met with the Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission, and learned there is $80,000 available throughout the region for residents' home improvements.
"A lot of potential violators would qualify for that money," he said.
Hall remained unconvinced.
"That money seems to disappear before you ever get it," he said.