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Youngstown officials, agencies conduct South Side zoning sweep

Published: Thu, October 27, 2011 @ 12:06 a.m.

By John W. Goodwin Jr.



Laura Fulmer, the city’s zoning-code-enforcement officer, spends her days canvassing city properties making sure they are up to code, but her efforts were combined with several other agencies in a South Side enforcement sweep.

Prosecutors, police, litter, zoning, housing and health department officials fanned out Wednesday along South Avenue in an enforcement blitz meant to improve the quality of life in the South Avenue corridor.

Dana Lantz, first assistant law director and the city’s housing prosecutor, said the plan is to hit the entire city bit by bit, tackling all quality-of-life issues.

“The mayor has determined that code enforcement and criminal enforcement are his top priority,” Lantz said. “We are hitting focused areas. The idea is that we will eventually hit the entire city, but we are trying to break it down into manageable sections.”

Lantz walked the South Avenue corridor with police Lt. William Ross looking for violations from Indianola Avenue to Midlothian Boulevard.

“This is basically a walk-through. This is part of an overall strategy the police chief has to curtail various types of crime,” he said.

Ross said the police department plans to hire six additional officers in November, which will help continue safety efforts throughout the city.

For now, Fulmer and the members of the other city and Mahoning County agencies involved in the enforcement blitz, go door to door inspecting each property for small to large violations.

Some of the properties were abandoned, with missing gutters, roofs in disrepair, high grass and garbage across the property. For these properties, Fulmer searches the Internet for the owner so a citation can be issued.

“You would think you would not have to say it, but a lot of people have to be told these things. You have to cut your grass; you have to pick up the trash on your property,” she said.

One small South Avenue grocery store received a warning for having graffiti on the side of the building. Displayed in large letters on the side of the corner building were the words “LBG CUZZ 20” and “BLOODGAME.”

A store employee said the graffiti had been painted over once, but vandals continually spray-paint the building. The store property also was littered with trash and an old tire.

Councilman John R. Swierz, D-7th, told the employee the property must be maintained. He suggested hiring outside security to make sure there is no loitering or vandalism.

Fulmer said the building’s owner received a warning and 30 days to make corrections to the property. She said legal and civil action could follow if the corrections are not made.

Officials have not said when or where the next enforcement blitz will take place.


1Charles42705(15 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

All I can say is it's about time...I will see if there is any changes when I visit in Nov. They have a up hill battle in front of them, but it is a start. And they need to start enforcing curfew laws for those under 17. I bet when the parents start having to go to court and pay fines they will start making sure their kids are in the house at 10pm. I'm starting to like this new mayor already.

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2ghostofjohnyoung(163 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Good damn luck.

Sounds great, but will end a terrible public relations issue.

What's a property owner going to do when the morons tag his property again? Paint it uniformly over, again. That's going to solve lots. Actually, it won't solve a thing. All it will do is make the building a bigger issue and target and perhaps escalate the problems.

I can see it now, building collapses due to weight of paint-overs.

Leave it a Dumbocrat local politician to recommend the store owner hire outside security. Yeah, let's put 2-5 people on payroll to watch the place 24/7. That's how many it would take folks. Three eight hour shifts a day, 21 shifts a week. Is this the local Democrat plan for job creation?

How about the city Dumbocrat do something about the multiple decade YPD failings and inability to keep the natives under control and in line?

The city should start by stopping the crap mobiles that shouldn't be on the roads. Extend that to the car stereo clowns next.

Pickup all the hookers and citations for loitering for all the street dealers. Don't frisk them or anything for drugs, just cite them for the nuisance violation a few times each.

Ditto for the droves of clones that roam the streets, straight down the middle in the way of traffic.

Yes, I second the curfew enforcement issues.

Cut the grass? Good luck there. It can be a problem but in November? That dispute is a dumb one. See those folks next summer dummies.

Hey the snow is coming. How about Youngstown enforces it's shoveling/sidewalk clearing law? We have one here right? Can't tell in most spots all winter long.

/ Some of the properties were abandoned, with missing gutters, roofs in disrepair, high grass and garbage across the property. /

Imagine that! Abandoned buildings. Missing gutters. Roofs in disrepair. High grass and oh no garbage.

Gee, I wonder why?

Couldn't be due to the oh 30+ years of disinterest by the city leadership in the South Side of town?

Doesn't the leadership get that those gutters and related parts have long ago been scrapped by the local strippers? Should homeowners be expected to employ 24/7 armed security to fend off the marauding hordes of devilish souls also? Or are they just SOL like that business who probably can't afford anything either?

What's the city expect to find in this dumpy part of town other than... garbage.

Perhaps these folks should stay in the area longer. How about a voluntary move-in?

Make the leadership live in those areas for 30 days each. Bet after that, they'll come up with better ideas and approaches to doing things.

Nice ideas, but the area is far from suburbia where such minor infractions are magnified into mountains.

Just ignore the killings, single mother household epidemic, the legions of gang aholes, the crack and heroin epidemic, the massive poverty and the totally broke a%% city infrastructure.

Lots to be proud of, not.

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3whitesabbath(738 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

I would like to see the city get aggressive with these bank-owned property's to.

Hope they make their way down to LUTZ the Nutz's place on Midlothian. What a fricken eyesore..

Bulldoze that place and claim it for eminent domain.

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4author50(1121 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

If the government does this on one street, IT MUST do it on ALL streets. You just can't say it's only happening on South Ave. Bet the little grocery owner NEVER got any frontage money from the man who would be Mayor John 'Cucumber' Sweirz, but we all know who John - boy does give government goodies too!

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5palefoot(35 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Ok, I feel safer on the southside now, knowing all the zoning codes are being followed.
And yes, hiring private security is a good idea, because the police are rarely seen on this side of town.
At the very least it would be nice to have the roads plowed in the winter so we can get to our jobs and earn money to pay city taxes.

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6Attis(1114 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

An intensive search for housing code violations anywhere in Youngstown will come up with thousands of them; that's obvious but not what is needed. Try an intensive search for good jobs and good schools. Tell me if you find one or two.

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7legend33(169 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

No flippin way that white zoning inspector is walking around da hoods without a police escort!

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8taxpayer1001(274 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

These comments are just amazing to me! This is just a part of what is currently being done to help improve the city and safety. You all complained constantly about cleaning up the city and enforcing zoning etc and now that it's being done everyone bit**es again! and also, hiring six more officers is a great thing! but somebody has to turn it into a negative! I just wish people in Yo. would see that this new mayor has done more in a month than Williams did in a year. and he's working towards covering all areas, not just part. I don't live in Yo. but it will only keep moving and infesting our other communities if something isn't at least attempted to stop it. I sure don't want that, do you?

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9ghostofjohnyoung(163 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Cry me a river folks.

Some want us to believe that this little PR stunt is going somewhere. While the South Side is a total destroyed dump, none of the areas of town are exactly nice.

The "quality of life" issues are massive in this town. Yes, some of the sore spots in this article are contributors.

However, having about the worst selection of people put together with some of the highest illiteracy coupled with rampant crime and total disinvestment from the city for three plus decades leads to this.

It's not the frickin grass causing all that geniuses in residence.

Again, what's 5-6 police officers being added going to do? That's if we are lucky +1 more officer a shift.

What happened to that 2010 City Plan? What happen to abandoning parts of town, moving folks out and stopping the services?

This nitpicking public grand standing is hunting a massive deranged elephant with a fly swatter.

Fact is, so few give a damn on the South Side today. Would you care after decades of this vile crime and hopelessness?

It's not places like Lutz's that are the problem either. It's the massive piles of no value, no resale value, tear me down housing long ago abandoned.

The city needs to buy / lease it's own heavy equipment and put a tear down squad together and clear the entire backlog of structures next summer with it's own budget.

South Side needs a central YPD sub station and foot patrols and other man on the streets interaction.

You enforce property code stuff in the spring in summer, aside from snow clearing. Too late and cold now to do many repairs.

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10taxpayer1001(274 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Terry- I totally agree with all you say. The place is just a cesspool. But so many people were complaining that they weren't enforcing the cleanup and codes and now they are trying but people still complain. I personally feel that there isn't much that can be done with Youngstown, but at least we have someone in charge now who is trying

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11iBuck(231 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

They should organize community defense groups to guard against these rampaging code-nazis.

Neighbors should look after neighbors and help each other paint, scrape, mow, rake, prune, clean, etc., not call up government goon-squads.

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12Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Damned if you don't and damned if you do.... It's a START in the right direction is that so hard to understand? For all you negative fools, what would you do? And no stupid answers that won't work with the budget, laws, personnel, etc.

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13Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago


"Lifes2short- to answer that question, everything needs to be cleaned up."

No joke, that is why this is at least a step in the right direction. Might be minor to some people but it's a effort.

"Theres Crime in the City, and Corruption by our City Officials."

And shocking as it may seem, but it's not just Youngstown, it's all over the great USA. No city or place is immune.

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