Our Opinion: Keep up with spring cleaning of property

Published 5:36 pm Tuesday, April 2, 2024

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We are now officially in spring and the weather is such that many of us will begin looking at our homes and property, if you haven’t already, with an eye for some spring cleaning.

This may include yard work, cleaning out the garage or picking up clutter around the property. As people begin getting into the idea of freshening up the property, we want to take the opportunity to remind land and property owners that the City of Austin has ordinance that regulates the holding of junk on property.

It’s not a particularly colorful name, but under its junk cars, furniture, household furnishings and appliances stored on public or private property ordinance, the city defines what is considered junk as well as when it becomes a public nuisance.

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Junk, as defined by the city, is a lengthy one, but includes things like scrap metal, rags, batteries, tires, debris and dismantled vehicles just to name a few.

Likewise, it’s a lengthy read to define what public nuisance is and its different effects on different ways of life, including effects on health.

All of us are probably guilty to some respect at one time or another of storing things on our property that remain there longer than they should, but the key is recognizing and cleaning.

This should be done, not only to align with the ordinance, but that of a healthy community. Collectively, we are like family and when welcoming people to Austin we want to put our best foot forward. This in turn can pull in more people when they see our clean parks, tidy yards and overall health of the community. They will want to come to Austin.

And it’s good for us personally. We should and do feel better when we can relax on a nice summer day in a clean yard.

It’s also just better for us. When there is excess junk in our yards, there are safety hazards. Either you or any visitor to the property could become injured. The clutter and junk can also cause health concerns coming from things like accumulations of manure, refuse, junk or other debris.

Further, adding to the process are the time-consuming steps of actually tending to the clean-up if we don’t do it ourselves, which can include increased cost or even criminal steps. According to the ordinance: “Whoever by his or her act or failure to perform legal duty intentionally does any of the following is guilty of maintaining a public nuisance, which is a misdemeanor.”

The process itself involves a complaint coming to the city and the city then verifies the complaint. A letter is sent to the landowner letting them know about the violation along with the city ordinance.

After that, the owner will have 10 days to bring the property into compliance. If it’s still not in compliance, the City Council will review and approve a clean-up with a citation. Finally, after the approval, the city can come in and clean up the property in order to bring it into compliance.

To read the ordinance regarding junk, visit: https://codelibrary.amlegal.com/codes/austinmn/latest/austin_mn/0-0-0-15219

For those wishing to file a complaint, visit: https://austinrequest.portal.iworq.net/portalhome/austinrequest

Let’s all avoid the hassle and take the time to ensure our yards and property are an example of what we want others to see. The benefits far outweigh the cons.