(From the City of Joplin)
The City of Joplin held a press conference today to update the citizens of Joplin on the progress of the work in the disaster recovery. Specific details were given on the debris removal process, including the recent nuisance abatement legislation passed by the Joplin City Council on June 23, 2011.
As a result of the devastating destruction from the May 22 tornado, the City has determined that rubble piles represent an immediate threat to the public’s health and safety and will be declared a nuisance. If lots still need debris removal, the property has not been cleared through the various means and an ROE form has not been received by the City.
Due to the number of properties cleaned up by other means by the residents and volunteers, the original estimate of 1,500 nuisances was high. After specific identification of residential properties that still require debris removal, the City has determined that 663 properties remain at this time.
“There are a host of health nuisances that are created because of these debris piles,” said Dan Pekarek, Health Director. “There are numerous pools of standing water created within them, which serves as a breeding ground for mosquitos. In addition, you have animals who may take shelter within the piles, including domestic animals that may not have been trapped after the tornado, rodents, feral cats or other wild animals.”
In addressing this public health issue of remaining rubble piles on private residential property, the City will publish a Public Notice in the paper on Tuesday, June 28 for Nuisance Abatement. The Notice will state only the address of the properties. No names will appear in the Notice.
The City is addressing several questions that have arisen from the announcement of the Public Nuisance abatement process. Below are several scenarios to help citizens understand more clearly the progression of cleaning up residential private property.
1.If your property is identified as a nuisance by the City, and it gets cleared of loose debris through other means by July 13th, citizens should call 417-624-0820, ext. 539 and notify the City of this action. After site verification, City officials will remove the address from this nuisance list, and there will be no special assessment against your property.
2.If you are waiting on volunteers to clear your property, and they cannot clear your property by July 13th, please sign the Right-of-Entry form.
3.If you have hired a contractor to clear your lot, and they will not be able to clear it by July 13th, you may provide the City with a copy of the contract. Please present this copy to the Public Works department on the 4th floor of Joplin City Hall, 602 South Main. Or you can fax this contract to Public Works at 417-625-4738. The deadline to have the lot cleared is July 31.
Below is the outline of the nuisance process that has been published in previous releases:
· Notice of each identified property will be published in the local newspaper on Tuesday, June 28. This allows for the seven-day period and gives notice to the property owners of the identified lots of an upcoming public hearing to be held by the City Council.
· The City Council will hold a public hearing after this seven-day period. The Public Hearing is tentatively set for July 6th. Any property owner of an identified nuisance will have the opportunity to participate in the public hearing by attending the council meeting and speaking during the public hearing.
· After the Public Hearing, if the City Council determines a nuisance exists, the Council will order the nuisance abated.
· Following this meeting, there will be an additional publication of the nuisance declarations in the local newspaper, allowing another seven-day notice period after the findings of the public hearing.
· On July 14th, the property nuisance will be turned over to FEMA for the cleanup of the property by the government-funded contractors.
If a private property is cleared of loose debris through this nuisance abatement process, the property owner will be responsible for the cleanup cost and a lien against the property through a special tax assessment will be issued. The assessment will be based on the lot size as established in the following 3-tier cost structure:
Lot Size Tax Assessment
Up to 10,000 square feet $1,500.00
10,001 square feet to ½-acre $2,500.00
½-acre and greater $4,000.00
During this time, property owners may still sign an ROE form until the end of the total fourteen day notice period. If an authorized ROE form is completed and returned to the City of Joplin prior to the end of the nuisance notification period, the rules and guidelines established for the ROE process will still apply. These rules and guidelines are explained in the ABCs of Tornado Debris Removal and Part 2-ABCs of Tornado Debris Removal. Copies of these documents are available on the city’s website at www.joplinmo.org. If your property is cleared of loose debris utilizing other resources after it is identified as a nuisance by the city and prior to the abatement, please contact the Public Works Department at (417) 624-0820 ext. 539.
The abatement of any remaining nuisances throughout the entire affected area will allow the cleanup to occur within the timeframe set in the EDR initiative by the President, as well as protect our citizens from safety and health hazards and encourage the recovery of our community. This is another step to allow our citizens to rebuild in a safe and desirable manner as quickly as possible.
Additionally, we recognize that many residents have questions regarding the demolition of residential structures, in order to allow them to rebuild in Joplin. The City has requested demolition assistance from FEMA and is awaiting an answer as certain details concerning the demolition process are being determined.
However, the loose debris must be removed prior to the demolition of residential structures, so this nuisance abatement process will continue regardless of owners’ demolition needs. The City will update the citizens as further information develops about the demolition process.