CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Clarksburg Code Enforcement met with the public at the Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center to have a discussion and to hear the residents’ concerns on Tuesday evening.
Much of the public’s concerns centered towards condemnations and reporting issues of code violations to the city. This initiative is to help the city and the community to work together to find solutions to the issues the residents are facing.
“This is a great opportunity for residents to come out and speak to our code enforcement officers. People own property and think they can do whatever they want with it, that is not the case when you live within a municipality like the City of Clarksburg. There is a lot of ordinances you have to follow, and citizens are not aware of that. And this is our job as code enforcement is to make them aware the best way possible,” said Harry Faulk, Clarksburg city manager.
Faulk also stated there are currently more than 100 structures that are currently condemned within the city. He also added that there have been more than 300 demolition projects over the past seven years completed with estimated costs at approximately $4,000,000.
“We have a lot of condemned structures throughout the city of Clarksburg. We are playing catch-up from years to either get those properties back on the books, or demolished,” Faulk said. “A lot of it has to do with funding for the demolition program, and a lot of it has to do with ownership of those properties.”
Officials explained the city must give the owner due process and time to make progress on trying to make repairs to properties that are in code violation. Those officials also said they would like residents to report directly to code enforcement as opposed to posting to social media.
“Mr. Workman, our Public Works Superintendent is fighting a battle against these condemned structures, going out and re-boarding them. As soon as we re-board them, the next day or two we get a call that they are un-boarded. So, we have to send our crews back out again, it’s just a never-ending battle,” Faulk said.
Code enforcement said the best way to get in contact with them to report an issue is through a phone call or email with pictures and a message of what the issues is. In the coming months, the City of Clarksburg will be releasing a smartphone app called “See Click Fix” and have just started working with a developer.
“The City of Bethlehem, PA has a great version of this app where we can send out notifications, post our meetings, events, schedules, code violations to report. Anything you want, you name it you have it on this one-time app,” Faulk said. “I see that other cities have programs out there for their citizens to apply for grant money through the city to fix up their homes. That is one of the things I’d like to see done here.”
Also, the city is currently working to hire a director of economic development to help work with property owners of downtown commercial properties to fill vacant storefronts.