Officials can help with neighbors

Published 1:15 pm Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Can Prince Edward County help if you own a rental home next to a hoarder and it affects you renting (your) house and your renters have to burn incense to enjoy the yard due to the mosquitoes, etc.?

The county administrator’s office handles all neighboring property concerns, unless there are concerns about a communicable disease.

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“They need to contact the county (administrator’s office) and then we will proceed to investigate the matter and determine what would be the best method of resolving this issue,” Prince Edward County Administrator Wade Bartlett said, “It may be the health department. It may be one section of the state code. Because we don’t have a property maintenance code, we have to use the state code.”

Wade Bartlett

Wade Bartlett

There are ordinances in the Code of Virginia to help regulate concerns related to public nuisances such as proper trash disposal.

Bartlett said the ordinance is vague.

“It’s not very detailed and it’s hard to enforce,” he said, adding there are particular codes regulating junk automobiles. “We will do what we can.”

If the house is being rented, the county will get the owner of the property involved because sometimes the owner does not know what the renter is doing.

“It’s not an easy fix usually,” he said, but depends on the problem. “There’s a lot of people that claim their neighbors are hoarding and all, but you know, the old adage that what’s one person’s junk is another person’s treasure.”

He said it’s usually just garbage, not hoarding.

“If they keep it organized … there’s not much the county can do with it,” he said.

According to Bartlett, officials have had success using some of the state codes to fix problems with garbage. 

Bartlett also said the health department does not get involved with this type of situation.

“They are concerned about mainly sewage,” Bartlett said.

Health Department Director Dr. Alexander P. Samuel agreed.

“From a public health perspective there’s really nothing we can do to enforce (the property owner),” Samuel said.

There are certain steps homeowners can take if mosquitos are a problem due to neighboring yards, Samuel said.

Fortunately, Samuel said, Nov. 1 marks the end of mosquito season, but added if mosquitos remain a problem to wear insect repellent when outdoors.

“For it to become an issue where the health department becomes involved is only if we have an indication of Zika virus,” Samuel said, adding that, too, is somewhat limited.

If there were a concern about a proper sewage system or a communicable disease being in the home, then the health department would step in.

Individuals with concerns about neighbors should contact the County Administrator’s Office at (434) 392-8837 The offices are on the third floor of 111 South St. in Farmville and are open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.