Property Maintenance

In 2015, the Symmes Township Trustees received several complaints from the community concerning property maintenance issues that are not typically addressed in the zoning resolution or the Ohio Revised Code. These issues typically deal with the maintenance of the house or other structures on the property. To address these issues, the Trustees asked staff to develop a Property Maintenance Code (PMC) that would address these complaints and give the township residents some guidelines to maintain their properties. The final draft of the PMC has been modeled after the International Property Maintenance Code from 2018 and some additional items have been added that have been issues for the Township.

Please send us your comments; we would love to know what you think about adopting a Property Maintenance Code in Symmes Township.  Send your comments to Kim Lapensee, Township Administrator, at   

Current Nuisance Authority under the Ohio Revised Code:

  • Abatement of Building Nuisances – ORC Section 505.06.  This section of the ORC only allows for the abatement of taxes if a structure is demolished after a lot or parcel against which delinquent taxes, assessments, interest of penalties remain unpaid for more than a year.
  • Storage of Junk Motor Vehicles – ORC Section 505.173. This section of the ORC only allows the Trustees to adopt resolutions to regulate the storage of junk motor vehicles on private or public property within the Township.
  • Removal, repairs or securance of insecure, unsafe buildings or structures – ORC Section 505.86.  This section of the ORC only allows the Trustees by resolution to remove, repair, or secure buildings or other structures in the Township that have been declared insecure, unsafe, or structurally defective by any fire department or building department or other structures that have been declared to be in a condition dangerous to life or health, or unfit for human habitation by the Board of Health or general health district.
  • Abatement, control, or removal of vegetation, garbage, refuse and other debris – ORC Section 505.87. This section of the ORC allows the Trustees to provide for the abatement, control or removal of vegetation, garbage, refuse and other debris from land in the Township if they determine that it constitutes a nuisance.  If the owner, after being notified, fails to abate the nuisance, then the Board shall provide for the abatement.  If there are any expenses incurred by the Board in performing that task, then it shall be entered upon the tax duplicate and become a lien upon the land from the date of entry.
  • Removal of Junk Motor Vehicles – ORC Section 505.871.  This section of the ORC allows the Trustees to remove any vehicle from private property if the Board determines that the vehicle is a junk vehicle after notice has been given.  Any expense that the Board incurs for the removal may be placed on the tax duplicate and becomes a lien upon the land from the date of entry.

Trustee Meetings and Public Hearings:

  • In 2015, we held 2 work sessions with the Board of Trustees (9/10/15 & 12/1/15).
  • In 2016, the first public hearing to adopt the Property Maintenance Code was held (4/7/16) and a second work session (6/21/16).
  • In 2017, a work session was held to discuss the final code draft (5/11/17).
  • In 2017, the second public hearing was held to discuss the changes to the proposed code based on the previous meetings (7/13/17).
  • In 2017, a second work session was held to discuss the changes to the final draft of the PMC (10/17/17).
  • In 2018, additional work sessions were held (4/9/18, 5/22/18, 8/23/18, and 10/17/18) with the Trustees to discuss changes to the final draft of the PMC.
  • In 2018, a third public hearing was held to discuss the final draft with changes to the PMC (11/29/18).

Slide Show from PH#2
Slide Show from PH#3 

Where are we now?

  • The Township Trustees have decided to hold an additional work session to discuss the many comments they have received during the public hearing process, work sessions, regular meetings and through emails and phone calls.
  • There have been many calls to adopt a Property Maintenance Code because they are living next to or near properties that are not being taken care of due to abandonments, renter situations, out-of-town landlords or neglect.  We have received complaints from burning trash, leaving out the garbage cans too long, junk and debris in the yard, tall landscaping/vegetation to falling down gutters and commercial trucks with trailers being parked on the public streets. Click here to review comments.
  • There have been many comments that we have received via email or through the three public hearings that are completely against a PMC and giving that power to the Township to enforce.  Most fear the additional restrictions, neighbor retaliations, or that the language in the draft code is too vague and/or overreaching.  Click here to view comments.

Proposed Property Maintenance Code Versions


We have reached out in many different forms to the community to gather opinions throughout the Township.  They are:

  • Direct emails were sent to the HOA's in the community (there are 55 email contacts that we have for all the different HOA's in the Township) on 6/9/17, 7/7/17, 7/9/17, 12/1/17, 11/9/18; and
  • We have advertised all 3 public hearings in the local paper prior to having the meetings (2016, 2017 and 2018); and
  • We have placed articles in the newsletter in the Spring edition of 2016, and again in 2018; and
  • We have announced many meeting dates, public hearings and work sessions throughout 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 during Trustees meetings which are televised and on the Township's website and ICRC's website.
  • We have had numerous conversations with homeowners who have complained about a certain parcel/structure and our inability to regulate the maintenance of those structures unless they are completely falling down or inhabitable.