Pleasant Plains Twp. leads spring clean-up efforts

PLEASANT PLAINS TWP. — It's time for spring cleaning, and Pleasant Plains Township is taking it to heart by spearheading a new local initiative to fight blight and revitalize properties which have become cluttered or damaged.

Township zoning administrator Bob Sanders is hoping the township's efforts will encourage people to take initiative and fix up their local community to raise property values, beautify the community and improve civic pride.

"We want folks to know with spring coming we want to to work with people to clean their properties and yards," explained Sanders. "We've identified properties which need cleaning or repair and sent letters out to Pleasant Plains Township residents to notify them."

The township is primarily targeting dilapidated structures, unlicensed vehicles and trash or debris left in yards. Sanders has been personally visiting several area residents along with Pleasant Plains trustee Clint Jackson, who does so on a totally volunteer basis, to discuss the matter in person and try to resolve the matters informally before any official action needs to be taken.

"After we identify properties, we'll talk with the owners and try to work with them on a plan to get the job done," said Sanders. "We've gotten some assistance from A-1 Waste Services to haul away some large debris for them if it will help the process along. There's a first notice letter, a second notice letter and then a civil infraction is issued if no action gets taken. It would then go before the magistrate and there will be fines charged if they are found responsible for something on their property which violates a local ordinance."

The primary areas of concern for Pleasant Plains Township officials is around Baldwin Road and North Lake-Merriville area due to the prevalence and severity of problems identified in those spots.

Both Sanders and Jackson say fixing up and cleaning up the township will ultimately yield positive results for the entire community.

"Fixing these problems will help everyone by raising property values," remarked Jackson. "We've got a lot of nice houses in the woods or next to a lake, but next to it might be a shack with broken windows and walls falling down. No one will want to buy or rent a property next to that."

Sanders also stresses that it is a matter of people breaking the law by allowing properties to fall into disrepair. He also mentions how it is inconsiderate to their neighbors.

"I don't judge people over how they want to live, but if I lived next to some of these properties with trash piled up in the yard or a structure falling down and rotting away, I would be mad at them and I would be mad if the township didn't take any action."