HAYDENVILLE — A resident in Haydenville that owns property along the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway was notified in early January to clean up their property by the Hocking County Health Department, but has not made any progress to date.
In late February, Hocking Valley Scenic Railway employee, Shawn Williams, attended the Hocking County Board of Commissioners meeting to — again — express concerns of the home not having been cleaned up. Instead, he noted they’ve added more trash to their yard, specifically more cars.
Complaints on the organization’s website began flooding in after visitors on the train ride felt the home was “pretty depressing” to look at. After attempting to track down the right person to handle the cleanup of the home, Williams attended a commissioners meeting in early December, hoping for some resolve.
With so many complaints and anger from tourists, the main goal for the railway is to improve the area as much as possible. Williams said that every worker is trying to make it better for everyone.
On tripadvisor.com users have also posted, “The ‘scenery’ consisted of quarries, ton of pallets and homes with trash piled up.”
Another user mentioned that the only scene was seeing a terribly run-down community of “Haydenville,” where the government needs to step in and help. The user also mentioned that the view of rundown homes were littered with trash and had multiple dogs chained up.
One user of tripadvisor.com even commented the trip was a rip off.
“The real bummer was the train ride looking at rundown houses, sand piles and junkyards,” the complaint read.
Since the second visit Williams made to the commissioners about the property, the Hocking County Health Department visited the residence to see if any progress had been made. Their findings were as Williams had stated: worse.
In the letter addressed to the homeowners on Haydenville Road, Environmental Health Technician Joann Montgomery provided a new schedule of deadlines to be met on Feb. 27.
“You have violated all the dates that were proposed in the original schedule. You stated that weather conditions and flooding were issues in last few weeks and those factors prevented you from getting things done,” mentioned Montgomery.
The letter further stated bags, cans, plastic items, tires, multiple vehicles (without current tags), truckbed caps and more were still on the property grounds. However, some of the furniture and mattresses sitting outside had been reduced. Therefore, the residents were notified they were in violation of four Logan-Hocking County sanitary regulations.
Many of the items or containers sitting around the property hold water, which provides breeding grounds in warmer weather for mosquitos. The garbage scattered around the property attracts rodents such as raccoons, opossums or even stray cats and dogs looking for food. Additionally, upholstery in vehicles that are unused are likely to harbor mice and other rodents.
Montgomery provided roughly four new dates for the residents to cleanup their property by the end of March.
“Progress MUST be seen or we will have no choice but to schedule an environmental hearing with the Environmental Director and Health Commissioner to determine if you plan to fully comply and determine if referral to the Board of Health and/or Hocking County Prosecutor is warranted,” added Montgomery.
Typically the Hocking County Health Department will start out investigations as a result of a nuisance complaint and work closely with the Logan Police Department or the Hocking County Sheriff’s Office to determine the next steps.
“People want to be able to do what they want on their own property within the county so without some type of code enforcement program some things are difficult to regulate,” concluded Montgomery.