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Monday, May 20, 2024

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Oxford Gets Tough on Unsightly Properties
Mark Rushton
/ Categories: News

Oxford Gets Tough on Unsightly Properties

Oxford Mayor Greg Henley wants to hear from town residents on the matter of unsightly premises. 

Speaking on Six Rivers Radio’s Morning Talk, Henley said the town staff can’t go around “picking on people”, so municipal action against properties that are “dangerous or unsightly” must begin with the public calling for action.

Henley said residents of the town can contact staff with complaints about properties that are in severe disrepair, lacking maintenance, or which may present a health hazard —think “rats’ nest” — and the town can then move forward with the municipal tools available to resolve the matter.  

That process begins with a notification to the property owner, which may be challenging with non-resident property owners whose contact information has changed over the years.

When a property owner is notified that action is required, the town works with them toward resolution, and in some cases — either due to no communication or a lack of action on the part of the owner — the property may be cleaned up with the associated costs added to the annual property tax bill.  Non-payment of those costs can lead the town to seize the property and put it up for a tax sale, something that the town pursued in the spring of 2023. 

Morning Talk host BillMartin noted that in recent years, the Municipality of Cumberland has taken an aggressive approach to “dangerous & unsightly” properties, noting that the public mood has changed and is less likely to defend or excuse derelict owners due to their personal circumstances. 

Henley agreed, saying that Oxford is “going after them”, and that the more complaints that are registered, the easier it is to take action.

The Town of Oxford’s Land Use Bylaw states that Council will abide by the Municipal Governance Act’s provisions on “dangerous & unsightly” properties. The Act spells out what that means for property owners in detail:“dangerous or unsightly” means partly demolished, decayed, deteriorated, or in a state of disrepair so as to be dangerous, unsightly or unhealthy, and includes property containing:

(i) ashes, junk, cleanings of yards or other rubbish or refuse or a derelict vehicle, vessel, item of equipment or machinery, or bodies of these or parts thereof,

(ii) an accumulation of wood shavings, paper, sawdust, dry and inflammable grass or weeds or other combustible material,

(iia) an accumulation or collection of materials or refuse that is stockpiled, hidden or stored away and is dangerous, unsightly, unhealthy or offensive to a person

(iii) any other thing that is dangerous, unsightly, unhealthy or offensive to a person, and includes property or a building or structure with or without structural deficiencies

(iv) that is in a ruinous or dilapidated condition,

(v) the condition of which seriously depreciates the value of land or buildings in the vicinity,

(vi) that is in such a state of non-repair as to be no longer suitable for human habitation or business purposes,

(vii) that is an allurement to children who may play there to their danger,

(viii) constituting a hazard to the health or safety of the public,

(ix) that is unsightly in relation to neighbouring properties because the exterior finish of the building or structure or the landscaping is not maintained,

(x) that is a fire hazard to itself or to surrounding lands or buildings,

(xi) that has been excavated or had fill placed on it in a manner that results in a hazard, or

(xii) that is in a poor state of hygiene or cleanliness;

Oxford residents who are fed up with the condition of a property in the town limits can submit their complaint via the town’s website.

Town of Oxford - Submit a Complaint

https://oxfordns.ca/how-do-i-report-a-complaint.html

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Monday, May 20, 2024 9:45 AM

Premier Tim Houston is our guest on Morning Talk on the 3rd Monday of each month. Listen at 9:45.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024 9:05 AM

Tory Rushton, Minister of Natural Resources, is on Morning Talk each Wednesday at 9:05.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024 10:45 AM

Oxford Mayor Greg Henley is on Morning Talk the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month. Listen at 10:45.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024 10:45 AM

Listen to Oxford Mayor Greg Henley on Morning Talk every Wednesday at 10:45. Click HERE to listen from our online player. Click HERE to listen to our direct player.

Thursday, May 23, 2024 9:05 AM

Murray Scott, Mayor of Cumberland County, is on Morning Talk every Thursday. Listen at 9:05.

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