During the summer of 2002 a large rat infestation was noted in the area between Ode, 19th Street and Colonial Terrace. In working with the various county offices to contain the rat problems a number of issues surfaced regarding solid waste management, high building occupancy levels resulting from conversions of single family homes to apartments, weeds and overgrowth, building and household materials stored in yards, foundation cracks, abandoned garages, etc. There were also safety issues raised regarding compliance of building codes for fire, plumbing and electrical wiring conditions for occupants of the single family dwellings that have been converted to apartments in this area.
During October 2002 County Board Member Jay Fisette was advised of the situation and concerns in this area. He followed up with the county manager and received this reply regarding actions being taken by the county to remedy problems:
ARLINGTON COUNTY, VIRGINIA
December 4, 2002
TO: Jay Fisette, Member, Arlington County Board
FROM: Office of the County Manager
Staff in the Department of Environmental Services (DES), the Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development (DCPHD), and the Department of Human Services (DHS) provided information about the additional inquiries about properties in the 1500 block of19th Street North.
The DES Solid Waste Division Code Inspector, Ms. Mary Jones, sent letters to the property owners during the week of October 14th regarding proper placement of refuse in bins and the placement of the bins. She has been in contact directly with several of the owners to rectify this situation. The Code Inspector has been working closely with staff from Code Enforcement (CPHD) and (DHS) Environmental Health (concerning the rats) and will continue to proactively monitor the area on a weekly basis for code compliance.
OnNovember 25, 2002, the Solid Waste Division Refuse Supervisor, Ms. Bonnie Wilson, investigated the area to determine the number of carts present as well as any maintenance issues that needed to be addressed. All homes from 1541 through1559 19th Street Northhad a minimum of 2 refuse carts, except for 1543 (a private hauler collects refuse from this address). The County Code permits the distribution of three refuse carts to each resident property, for a fee, upon request from the resident. Observation over a period of several weeks determined that the great majority of refuse disposal met County Code; Code permits the use of enclosed plastic bags.
On November 2, 1970, the County granted to the owner of the dwelling at 1557 19th Street Northa Variance (V-3619-70-1) to add a third dwelling unit. The Zoning record indicates that the Variance was reviewed four times: 9/13/71; 9/11/72; 9/9/74; and 9/10/79. The last review on record (9/10/79) noted that the property was subject to review in 5 years (1984); there are no records of that review on file. These reviews were administrative and not Code Enforcement actions.
Recent action by the Code Enforcement Section is described below:
· The owner had three instances of violations of the Zoning Ordinance which resulted in two Civil Penalty warning tickets (7/25/02&10/3/02) and one monetary fine issued 11/7/02 all for improper storage of unlicensed vehicles.
· Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code-Property Maintenance Code (VUSBC-PM) violations were found 10/11/02 and a violation notice was issued on November 4, 2002, with a compliance date of December 4, 2002.
· Condition of Private Property violation of trash and debris was found on the premises on 10/22/02, and a Civil Penalty warning was issued with a compliance date of 11//05/02. The violation was corrected.
In 1979, the owner of the property at1559 19th Streetwas granted a Variance (V-3632-70-1) for a third dwelling unit in 1979. Recent Code Enforcement action at this property follows:
· VUSBC-PM violations were found onOctober 11, 2002and a violation notice was issued onNovember 4, 2002with a compliance deadline ofDecember 4, 2002.
On October 14, 1970, the owner of the dwelling at 1555 19th Street North was granted a Variance (V-3592-70-2) to add a third dwelling unit. The Zoning record indicates that the Variance was reviewed four times: 9/13/71; 9/11/72; 9/9/74; and 9/10/79. The last review on record done (9/10/79) noted that the property was subject to review in 5 years (1984); there are no records of that review on file. These reviews were administrative and not Code Enforcement actions.
Recent Code Enforcement action at this dwelling follows:
· This property was found to be in violation of the VUSBC-PM and has been issued a Violation Notice for the needed repairs. Staff has received documents from the owner's contractor with a projected time frame that required an extension. The repairs, weather permitting, should be completed by the end of December 2002.
At the 1551 19th Street North property, Condition of Private Property violations of trash and debris were found on the premises. Staff issued a Civil Penalty warning on October 22, 2002, with a compliance date of November 4, 2002. The violation was corrected. No further violations have occurred.
At the 1549 19th Street Northproperty, Condition of Private Property violations of trash and debris were found on the premises. Staff issued a Civil Penalty warning on October 22, 2002, with a compliance date of November 4, 2002. The violation was corrected. No further violations have occurred.
The following activity has occurred at the property at1545 19th Street North:
· July 2002, exterior VUSBC-PM violations were found. The owner was issued a violation notice and the violations were corrected in late August 2002.
· Staff did a partial interior inspection in the front portion of the house and discovered Zoning Use violations. The owner will receive a letter requesting a complete inspection of the interior of the house.
· October 22, 2002, Condition of Private Property violations of trash and debris were found on the premises. A Civil Penalty warning was issued with a compliance date ofNovember 4, 2002. The violation was corrected. No further violations have occurred
The property at 1543 19th Street Northreceived a Variance (V-3632-70-1) granted for a third dwelling unit in 1979. Recent Code Enforcement actions were:
· May 2002, exterior VUSBC-PM violations and Condition of Private Property violations were found.
· A violation notice was issuedJune 6, 2002, with a compliance date ofJuly 6, 2002, and a Civil Penalty warning ticket was issued on June 6, 2002, with a compliance deadline ofJune 20, 2002. The violations were corrected and no further exterior violations have occurred.
The property at 1601 Colonial Terrace is vacant, but secured. Code Enforcement staff, after completing the legal process, has had the property vegetation cut at least three times:
· August 2000
· August 2001
· June 2002
Currently, the property is not overgrown, but has some weed-like vegetation growing on the front perimeter. The contractor has been contacted and the vegetation will be cut again within the next 7-10 days.
Mr. Bill Robbins, with the Vector Control Office (VCO) of the Department of Human Services, received a request for assistance from Mr. Derby on September 18, 2002, regarding rats in the 1500 block of 19th Street North. Mr. Derby informed Mr. Robbins that he was working with Mr. Peter Tran of the Code Enforcement Section regarding the condition of the properties and the buildings and with the Solid Waste Division regarding the issues with the refuse containers. Mr. Robbins worked directly with the property owners on this matter.
Mr. Robbins inspected the properties along the 1500 block and reported the following: Property Owners: George Yount at 1543 N 19th Street (DUPLEX 1541/1543)
Property Owners: Kevin & Jessica Farfan at 1549 19th Street North (DUPLEX)
Property Owners: Kevin & Jessica Farfan at 1551 N 19th Street (DUPLEX)
Property Owners: Daniel J. Lane at 1553 19th Street North (DUPLEX 1553/1555)
Property Owners: Roy & Eleanor May at1555 19th Street North
Property Owners: Dale Weed at 1549 N Colonial Terrace
Property Owners: R. J. Smith at 1411 Key Blvd
In addition to the property inspections, Mr. Bill Robbins also inspected the following storm drains per Mr. Derby's request: