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Beech Grove declares more residences to be public nuisances

BEECH GROVE, Ind (WISH) -- A warning to people living in Beech Grove: The city is declaring unkept properties to be public nuisances.

On Thursday, officers tagged seven vehicles to be towed. They were cars that were identified as broken down and parked on city streets.

Three homes are also set to be declared public nuisances.

The hope: Clean up the city and property values will go up. It's seemingly effective.

Beech Grove homeowner Charles Stanfield takes pride in his home, but not everyone does.

"There's a lot of houses even in this neighborhood that have a lot of clutter, that don't mow their grass," Stanfield said. "It affects everybody, the property values. Nobody wants to live next to a house that is not well-maintained."

That's why Beech Grove Mayor Dennis Buckley stepped in.

"We just want you to clean up your property," he said. "Maintain these property values and increase your property values. That's all we ask for."

If a homeowner doesn't keep their property maintained, the mayor warns the residence could be declared a public nuisance. First-time offenders would be fined $100 plus court costs. Repeat offenders could face a fine of more than $2,500 plus court costs.

"Making a concerted effort to clean properties up and get the attention of those who own them," Buckley said.

It's an initiative that seems to be paying off for the city. According to zillow.com, Beech Grove property values in the past year have gone up 10.5 percent. Compare that to Speedway, which has a comparable population; it saw a less than 5 percent increase.

The median home value in Beech Grove is $101,000, zillow.com reports.The median home value in Speedway is $116,200.

Buckley said the city began declaring public nuisances back in summer 2015 after the infamous brawl inside Walmart that went viral online, and trouble with prostitution at area motels.

"Walmart has done a 100 percent turnaround. Motel 6 is doing very well right now," Buckley said.

Since the Walmart brawl, Buckley has declared at least 20 properties to be public nuisances in hopes of cleaning up the city.

The mayor also is working on a new rental code ordinance that would require all landlords to register and maintain their properties.

According to Buckley, 90 percent of the homes declared a nuisance are rental properties.

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