Tipp City looks to improve property maintenance, provide a ‘fresh face’

The Tipp City Foodtown was closed earlier this year.
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The Tipp City Foodtown was closed earlier this year.

Tipp City leaders say they are looking for the best, most reasonable way to address property maintenance concerns.

City Council in June heard from residents concerned about the lack of upkeep of properties. Those comments focused particularly on the Interstate 75 interchange, the area to the east along Main Street, and the Tipp Plaza shopping center just south of Main Street.

Some of the same residents talked with the Tipp City Planning Board about the concerns earlier this month.

In both cases, the residents asked how a “fresh face” can be provided for the city. They talked about overgrown brush, dead bushes and rusting empty business sign frames.

Mayor Joe Gibson said council has been discussing an interchange beautification project and is concerned about some properties. He specifically mentioned the Tipp Plaza shopping center.

“Unfortunately, the property owner … has a different set of priorities than we do,” Gibson said during the council discussion with residents.

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Council President Katie Berbach said the city has engineers’ drawings for an interchange beautification effort, but added the city’s current ordinances “don’t have a lot of teeth” behind them. Council has not reached agreement on whether to pursue the beautification project.

Gibson has been talking for more than a year about a proposed new property maintenance code.

“I am in the process of finalizing it so (hopefully) it will be presented to the law director for finalization and legal review thereafter,” Gibson said via email. “I must admit that there has been a lot of work put into this, as a great many hours of research and finding the right language for the many issues presented has been quite a task (more than anticipated).”

Gibson, a lawyer, said he hopes to have something to share with the public in August.

“It will deal specifically with the maintenance issues that have been raised both in the downtown area, and at Tipp Plaza, and will address both residential and commercial properties,” he said.

At the July planning board meeting, the board voted unanimously to give a negative recommendation to an administration proposal to change landscaping requirements. The change would stop requiring shrubs and bushes around the perimeter of parking areas along West Main Street and across the city, instead allowing grass.

“This rewards the bad behavior of the property owners and discourages others from keeping Tipp beautiful,” said Ryan Liddy, planning board member. “If no one has to do anything about it, if that property owner can do whatever they want, so can any other property owner. That is not what Tipp City is about.”

The board wanted to do the opposite of the proposal and find a way to force property owners to keep up with their landscaping by taking care of unsightly signs and bushes, Liddy said.

The change to allow grass instead of shrubs and bushes around the perimeter of parking areas will next be considered by city council.

Residents who addressed the planning board said they don’t think people know who is responsible for the maintenance of some areas, including the curb lawn. One meeting attendee suggested creating a “dos and don’ts” list about property maintenance might be helpful.

Some of the residents who addressed council and planning board also planted flower pots at the main intersections near the interstate.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com