WARSAW — Two city residents are facing charges after ignoring complaints from neighbors and the city for nearly two years over code enforcement violations involving what officials view as an improper scrapping business on Main Street.
Jason and Bobby Wade were jailed on charges of failure to comply Monday, April 29, after they showed up late for a third court hearing regarding their ongoing refusal to clean up a large amount of material they had collected in their backyard at 1015 E. Main St.
Much of the material was apparently part of a scrapping business operating at the house.
In the past two years, the couple has made little effort to clean up a large amount of scrap and debris in their back yard despite being the subject of three code enforcement hearings and two court hearings prior to this week.
The home is just east of McKinley Park, and city action came after numerous complaints from neighbors, according to Dana Hewitt, a code enforcement officer for the city of Warsaw.
Running a scrapping business in a residential area is prohibited in the city, and the large accumulation of materials is against code enforcement violation.
Early last month, the couple were seen assembling a makeshift fence and a tarp in the driveway to block the view of the materials in the backyard.
The Main Street case is part of a bigger effort by the city to get tough on property owners who flagrantly ignore code violations. A year ago, the city began referring the most extreme cases of extended code violations to court.
The Wades are the first residents to be jailed over code enforcement violations. Each faced a bond of $5,000 and remained in jail early Wednesday morning, May 1.
On April 9, they were warned by Superior Court 1 Judge David Cates that they would face jail if the mess was not cleaned up by Monday, April 29.
The couple showed up moments after Monday’s hearing ended. The city had presented photos indicating the materials had not been removed. After the Wades showed up, the judge then reconvened the hearing to hear their side and then had them jailed.
The city received a court order on Tuesday that permits the city to have the property cleaned up. Exactly how that will be done has not been determined, Hewitt said Tuesday.
“The city has a court order to move forward and act on this,” Hewitt said. “We’ll see what the best action is.”
While the city has taken action and demolished unsafe structures in the past, an action like the one taken against the Wades has never happened in the city as far as Hewitt could recall.
Exactly how long the conditions have persisted was unclear, but code enforcement officials have been trying to work with the Wades since November of 2017, Hewitt said.
In another case, the court had ordered an arrest warrant for an owner of a home on Fisher Avenue over code enforcement violations, but that person, Brad Eberly, was never jailed. Eberly no longer owns the home and the property has since been cleaned up, according to Hewitt.