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City of Canton v. Copeland

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Stark

December 17, 2019

CITY OF CANTON Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
CHARLES D. COPELAND Defendant-Appellant

          Criminaal Appeal from the Canton Municipal Court, Case No. 2018CRB05739

         JUDGMENT: Affirmed

          For Plaintiff-Appellee KRISTEN BATES-AYLWARD CANTON LAW DIRECTOR JASON P. REESE CANTON CITY PROSECUTOR

          For Defendant-Appellant GEORGE URBAN

          JUDGES: Hon. William B. Hoffman, P. J. Hon. John W. Wise, J. Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, J.

          OPINION

          WISE, J.

         {¶1} Appellant Charles D. Copeland appeals his conviction on one misdemeanor count of failing to comply with a notice of violation or order to correct property maintenance code violations.

         {¶2} Appellee is the City of Canton.

         STATEMENT OF THE FACTS

         {¶3} For purposes of this Opinion, the relevant facts and procedural history are as follows:

         {¶4} Karla Heinzer works in the city of Canton Building Department as a Code Enforcement Officer and enforces Cod. Ord. 1351.03(L), which states that any person failing to comply with a notice of violation or order to correct property maintenance code violations is guilty of a misdemeanor or civil infraction. (T. 51; Cod. Ord. 1351.03(1)). When a Code Enforcement Officer sees a property maintenance code violation, the officer will issue a written notice of the violation and order the owner to correct the violation by a re-inspection date. (T. 129-30). The notice identifies the property, includes a statement of the violation, includes a correction order allowing a reasonable amount of time to make repairs, and informs the property owner of the right to an administrative appeal before the Canton Board of Building Appeals. (T. 130-131; Cod. Ord. 1351.01, 2006 IPMC §107.2).

         {¶5} Upon receiving a neighbor complaint, Officer Heinzer inspected 2231 Waltham Place S.W. (T. at 52). As a result of the inspection, Officer Heinzer issued notice of fourteen (14) property maintenance code violations to the owner of the property, Appellant Charles Copeland, and ordered him to clean up the trash, mow the grass, and remove his inoperable vehicles no later than October 30, 2017. (T. at 58-59, 64).

         {¶6} When Appellant failed to comply with the October order, the City of Canton fined him $100.00. (T. at 73-75, 79). Also, because Appellant failed to pick up the trash and debris on his property, the City of Canton did it for him and invoiced Appellant for the cost. (T. at 75, 79).

         {¶7} Subsequent to the October, 2017, inspection, Officer Heinzer inspected the property five (5) more times, issued four (4) additional violation notices, and met with the property owner and an assistant prosecutor in an attempt to resolve the matter in lieu of filing a criminal complaint. (T. at 79-80, 85, 88-93, 99).

         {¶8} Appellant failed to appeal any of the administrative orders. (T. at 132).

         {¶9} At the final inspection on October 26, 2018, Officer Heinzer saw that all ten (10) violations from her August 22, 2018, notice still remained. (T. at 99).

         {¶10} Appellant was subsequently charged with a misdemeanor of the first degree for failing to comply with a notice of violation or ...


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