Know the Code: Property Maintenance and Your Health
by Larry D. Jones, MPH, Health Director
March 18, 2014
Did you know that trash is not allowed to be placed at the curb more than 16 hours before the scheduled pick-up, and containers must be removed from the curb on the same day they are emptied?
Did you know that all vehicles parked or stored in an unenclosed area should be kept licensed, have four inflated tires,and appear to have all major parts?
Did you know that these codes are in place to protect the health and safety of Independence residents?
Certain property maintenance issues can have a negative effect on your health which isa major reason for these laws to be in place.
To protect the health and safety of all citizens, trash should be disposed of in containers with tight-fitting lids. These containers should be kept inside or behind the front building line of the structure. Allowing garbage to stay in close proximity to you for long periods can harm your health and the health of your neighbors. If not properly discarded, garbage can provide food and shelter for rodents and will make a place for flies to breed and spread disease.
All weeds and grass on the property,including any right-of-way/easement, should not be in excess of 12 inches. The City asks property owners to keep their land maintained for several reasons; the major ones being to prevent a mosquito or rodent infestation and eliminate fire hazards. Noxious plants (poison ivy, poison oak,etc.) and thickets (dense growth of wild shrubbery) are also prohibited because of the damage it can cause to a person.
Items such as building materials,appliances, and non-outdoor furniture cannot be stored outside for more than seven days. Barbecue grills, lawn furniture, garden hoses, lawn mowers,and toys may be stored outside provided they are kept in good repair.
Firewood may be stored behind the house if it is cut in sizes suitable for use and stacked neatly on concrete or 12 inches off the ground. Again, this can help limit the number of rodents and other unwanted creatures on your property.
In addition, any wood, siding, roofing, or other exterior parts of a building must be maintained structurally sound,weather tight, and in good repair. This is not only to keep it looking nice, but to keep the citizens safe as well. We want to make sure residents are protected against the elements and prevent the entrance of rodents and insects into homes.
By understanding the reasoning behind the Property Maintenance Code and working in partnership with the Independence Health Department to follow the laws, we can keep Independence a safe and desirable place to live.