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03-31-04 Officials want to run junk out of Mendon

By Timothy Cox
tcox@dailystandard.com

MENDON — Village officials continue to attempt to crack down on residents who have junk vehicles or garbage stored on their property.
   Bob Nolan, a rural Union Township resident who coordinates the annual Memorial Day parade in Mendon, told council members they need to get the town cleaned up before the event at the end of May. Nolan noted a couple of junk vehicles that have been sitting idle for a year or more. The junk cars are right along the parade route, he said.
   “I was born and raised in this community. I respect this community,” Nolan said, adding that he is tired of people making fun of Mendon for its appearance.
   The multitude of junk cars and generally shabby residences is not due to a lack of attention by council. The issue is discussed at every monthly council meeting and usually is one of the major points of discussion.
   That was the case again Tuesday. Council member Janice Clay and Mayor William Buffenbarger recently canvassed the town and snapped pictures of junk car violations. Sixteen property owners — most of them with more than one unlicensed vehicle — will be sent letters and given 10 days to move the offending automobiles. If they do not comply, they will be taken to court.
   Council members also discussed a trailer owned by Connie Howard of Convoy. The property also is home to a truck that doesn’t run and has no license plates. Village officials have been trying for years to get something done with the site. The trailer has no utilities hooked up and all of the windows have been broken out, exposing the inside of the trailer to the elements.
   Clay finally made contact with Howard, of Convoy, recently and gave her until April 20 to remedy the situation.
   Council’s attempts to strictly enforce village ordinances and zoning regulations has been complicated somewhat by the lack of a zoning inspector. The job has been vacant for sometime, although former Mayor Ron Griesdorn briefly served as interim inspector. Council members tried to get zoning board member Mike Bowling to accept the job, but he refused.
   Council members also agreed to beef up their grass mowing ordinance to prevent problems this summer. The current ordinance calls for grass to be cut at least once monthly during the summer and never to exceed 10 inches. Council members agreed to delete the once-per-month language and reduce the maximum grass height to six inches.
   Village officials also plan to codege $100 in situations where village workers must intervene and cut grass. The codege was just $20 last year.
   Village officials plan to hold first reading of the new ordinance in April with final reading tentatively set for the June meeting.
   In other business Tuesday, council members:
    Agreed to replace a deteriorating metal light pole in the downtown area with another one from the edge of town. The one taken from the edge of town would be replaced with a wooden pole. Council members did not want to spend $1,200 on a new metal pole, especially since it would not match the existing poles.
    Approved a contract with Union Township for the shared expenses the entities have, including care of the town hall.
    Passed first reading of a resolution to contract with the county for ambulance service. The per capita price has risen this year from $2 to $2.50, bringing Mendon’s bill to $1,742.50.
    Agreed to hold a cleanup day sometime in May when trash bins will be placed in a central location for residents to drop off trash.
    Nolan asked that a handicapped-accessible ramp be reinstalled inside the town hall so the building could again be used as a polling place.

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