Inspectors declare junk cars a no-go
The sweep turned up a likely squatter in a recently raided drug house.
By ROGER G. SMITH
CITY HALL REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- A rare glare of February sun bounced off the trunk of the red Chevrolet Cavalier parked in a West Evergreen Avenue driveway.
Just then, city inspector John Bricker broke the beam of sunlight with his arm as he slapped a neon orange zoning-violation sticker onto the back window. The car's registration expired in September.
There was no love Friday in the South Side neighborhood for the Cavalier or any other unregistered or inoperable vehicle.
Call it a junk-car version of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.
Councilman Michael Rapovy, D-5th, had Bricker and another code enforcement inspector, Jean Schaefer, tag dozens of broken-down or otherwise illegal cars and trucks in the neighborhood.
They expected to cite about 50 vehicles during the day on West Evergreen, Warren and St. Louis avenues. Bricker and Schaefer issued a dozen stickers alone within an hour along the 300-400 block of West Evergreen.
"There's no call for this. None at all," Rapovy said, looking at the Cavalier, plus a Chrysler and a Buick behind it in the driveway. The other two beat-up cars had registrations that expired in September 2001.
The owners have 10 days to get them properly registered and road-worthy before inspectors return to remove the vehicles. Inspectors call police to tow the vehicles if the violations aren't cleared.
Doretha Jones of West Evergreen is concerned that junk cars and dilapidated houses are driving down her home's value. She's lived there for 30 years.
"You want it to be nice if you're going to stay here," Jones said. "Get the scrap out. We want there to be clean here so the values stay up to par."
A block away, Dewayne Armstrong was glad to see the sweep. He is tired of seeing cars with missing wheels, flat tires or broken windows sit in residential yards with grass growing through them. In summer, it's a real eyesore, he said.
One man, however, wasn't happy to see city inspectors. Donny Anderson was on the porch at 524 W. Evergreen clutching a can of Colt 45 when Bricker tagged a car next to the house. Anderson said the car belonged to him.
Inspectors then saw a pool of ice in the front yard and asked about the house. Anderson admitted that water service had been shut off. That makes the house legally uninhabitable. Schaefer gave Anderson the standard 72-hour warning to get the water on or leave.
Anderson said he was renting and would get current on the water bill Monday, and went back into the house.
Schaefer made a call, however, and found that the police vice squad recently raided the home for drugs and ordered the water shut off. Records show the landlord's name that Anderson gave inspectors was false, too.