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Published: Wednesday, 2/11/2009

Inspection, licensing of residential rental housing in B.G. nixed

BY CARL RYAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

BOWLING GREEN - Bowling Green City Council nixed a proposal last week that would require the inspection and licensing of residential rental housing.

The vote was a unanimous 7-0 against the proposed resolution, which called for inspections of each rental property's exterior and interior "as well as the surrounding property of each unit."

Public comment, for and against, had been heavy. Council, however, was not persuaded that the particular measure was needed or would work, so it turned down the proposal and asked Mayor John Quinn to form a group to examine the issue and make recommendations.

The purpose of the rejected measure, according to the resolution was "(1) to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of renters, as well as the general public, (2) to help assure the preservation of existing housing stock, (3) to help maintain property values for neighbors, (4) to work toward the elimination of sub-standard and deteriorating rental housing and (5) to maintain a living environment that contributes to healthful individual and family living for all residents of Bowling Green."

After the meeting, Councilman Gordy Heminger said council "is aware that something needs to be done."

He recommended focusing on the exteriors of the city's housing units, both rental and owner-occupied.

"People are complaining about exteriors, about broken windows and hanging gutters and lawns that need care," he said. "We are told over and over that there are already laws on the books and we need to enforce them. I don't know who is dropping the ball and who is to blame, but we need to fix the problem and move the process along sooner rather than later."

Mayor Quinn said he hoped to have the ad hoc committee formed this week. He said it would consist of 14 to 16 members, drawn from a variety of sources, including the Community Collaboration group, City Council, Bowling Green State University, the real estate industry, and others. He said the committee would be diverse and include no more that two members of each interested group.

"I'm not sure what their agenda will be at this point. Council will have to be consulted on that," the mayor said.

The issue of inspecting and licensing rental units has been under consideration for a couple of years. It originally was incorporated in Section O of Bowling Green's master plan, which is periodically updated.

The issue was separated from that document "because we knew it was controversial," Mr. Heminger said. "We didn't want the whole update to be rejected."

Contact Carl Ryan at:

carlryan@theblade.com

or 419-724-6050.



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