Matt Lasley | GC News-Gazette City of Franklin Code Enforcement Officer Kevin Allen speaks to Grayson County leaders on Tuesday about his city's efforts to address dilapidated and abandoned properties.

Matt Lasley | GC News-Gazette

City of Franklin Code Enforcement Officer Kevin Allen speaks to Grayson County leaders on Tuesday about his city's efforts to address dilapidated and abandoned properties.

Officials with the cities of Leitchfield, Clarkson, and Caneyville gathered at the Centre on Main Tuesday evening to learn about the city of Franklin's efforts to address dilapidated and/or abandoned properties.

The subject of dilapidated, cluttered, and/or abandoned properties has been a source of much discussion among all three cities over the past several months, according to Leitchfield Mayor Rick Embry, so he invited leaders from all three cities to attend Tuesday's discussion to potentially garner new ideas for addressing the issue.

"Franklin is doing an excellent job," Embry said. "Their plan is working."

Franklin Code Enforcement Officer Kevin Allen said that, since he started in his position eight years ago, Franklin has condemned and demolished over 100 structures deemed unfit for human habitation in a process similar to that discussed by Caneyville leaders in recent months.

According to Allen, after a complaint has been submitted to his department, he visits the property to observe for violations. Upon discovering a code violation, Allen sends a notice to the property owner asking that he or she correct the violation.

"99 percent of what I do is complaint driven," Allen said.

If the property owner does not correct the violation, he or she may then be subject to a citation and a $50 fine. If the violation is still not corrected, Franklin Code Enforcement may then institute a per-day fine, after which, if the violation is still not addressed, the city can put a lien on the property, correct the violation itself, and send the property owner a bill for the work.

If a violation is corrected, the process is resolved, but Franklin has also ruled several structures were unfit for human habitation, and condemned and demolished them.

"I dismiss everything I write as long as they comply," Allen said.

The city of Franklin also has a Code Enforcement Board in place to hear testimony from Code Enforcement, as well as property owners, should such a need arise. After hearing testimony, the Code Enforcement Board renders a decision on whether a violation has occurred.

According to Allen, thanks to the efforts of Code Enforcement, Franklin is now to the point where its hazardous properties are "basically gone."

Additionally, through this process, Allen said, the city of Franklin averages about $30,000 in revenue per year and improves the safety and appearance and property values of its city by removing dilapidated properties.

Allen also said the city has met "very little resistance" to its Code Enforcement.

The city of Franklin's Code Enforcement operates based on the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC), which is a model code that regulates the minimum maintenance requirements for existing buildings, as well as ordinances set by the city.

While the local city officials took no action on Tuesday in regards to code enforcement, they expressed their appreciation to the city of Franklin for assisting in their discussions.