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Huntington Officials Say Junk Ordinance Is Working

Reported: Feb. 27, 2014 10:21 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 28, 2014 9:17 AM EST
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (Dan Matics) -- One community is much cleaner, and it's all thanks to a city code that leaders say is working.

Huntington's junk ordinance states, for example, that you can’t have high grass and trash in your yard, and you can’t have an old couch on your front porch.

And since they started enforcing this in July, city officials say there is a noticeable difference.

One lot in the south side of Huntington could easily have been mistaken for a hay field.

Now, more than six months after the city passed its junk ordinance, leaders say the "before and after" paints an even clearer picture.

"We are seeing the domino effect happen throughout the city," Bryan Chambers of the city Of Huntington said.
Tall grass, and junk in yards and porches are violations.

Code enforcement officers have issued almost 2,000 citations.

But about three out of every four people ticketed fixed the issue within 10 days, so they didn't have to pay a fine.

"That's what we are looking for,” Chambers said. “This isn't about fines."

Eyewitness News drove around to a lot of the places that had problems when the ordinance was first passed, and, now, more than 6 months later, it appears like things are much cleaner.

Melissa Meade hates "junky" neighbors, but said there's a lot more work to be done, at least in her neighborhood.

"It doesn't look nice,” she said. “It’s degrading to an area! I just don't think it's working no one pays attention!"
And as the crackdown continues, one thing is certain.

"If they'd get their trash off their porch it wouldn't be a problem," Meade said.

Mayor Steve Williams has said enforcing the code hasn't cost the taxpayers any extra money because the department sustains itself.



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