City of Wheaton notices issues in town

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Who is responsible for lawn care?

Unfortunate circumstances can leave property “up in the air” in terms of responsibility, and the city of Wheaton has seen such issues, which leads to other concerns for the city.

Clint Danforth, Wheaton police chief, said there are a few homes in city limits that are considered abandoned.

“We have some people who are going in and out of them, using them for a hangout,” he said. “There are two that I can think of that are becoming an issue.”

Danforth said this is a safety concern for the people who are going inside of the abandoned homes.

“The houses are considered condemned, even though the city has not condemned them,” he said. “But, they are rotted out and unlivable, so someone could get hurt.”

Danforth said when it comes to the lawn maintenance on these properties, it is someone’s responsibility, not the city’s.

“One of the homes considered abandoned right off of Main Street,” he said. “The lady who owned it passed away and now no one seems to know who owns it. I understand they are going to try to sell it in August.”

Danforth said the problem is that the property is not being maintained.

“Someone is responsible for it,” he said. “There are ordinances for lawn maintenance in city limits.”

Danforth said on that one property, since no one is taking care of the lawn, the city has been maintaining it.

“It is right on Main Street, and we want it to look nice with the summer activities happening in town,” he said. “It is not the city’s responsibility, but they have been using employees’ time and resourses to keep up with it.”

Danforth said the majority of people in town do take care of their lawns.

“Considering all the rain we have had, most people have been really good about keeping up with their lawns and property,” he said. “It isn’t a huge issue, but the biggest part about it is the abandoned homes and juveniles using them for a place to hang out.”

Danforth said people can be charged with trespassing if caught on the properties.

“The old sale barn has been another issue on this topic,” he said. “It is empty right now, and we have had people going in there doing property damage.”

Danforth said people have destroyed lights, and there was even an attempt to set it on fire.

“I want people to know if they are caught, they can face serious charges — either through a juvenile system or as an adult,” he said.

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