Pierce County program helps address Key Peninsula blight

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Almost all of the vehicles on a property on the Key Peninsula Highway north have been removed as of Wednesday.
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A Google Street View from August of 2013 shows the assortment of vehicles on the property.

UPDATE (Friday, June 27 at 7:15 p.m.): The last of the vehicles on the property was gone by early this morning — only a trailer and camper shell was left.

Two of about 188 vehicles deemed abandoned by Pierce County are what is left on a property on Key Peninsula Highway north, just past the library at Key Center.

“We’re looking forward to have the property cleaned up in the next month and a half,” said county code enforcement officer Mark Lupinno, to applause from the crowd at the June 17 Pierce County Council meeting at the Key Peninsula Civic Center.

The property has been the subject of the most complaints recently, according to Lupinno.

“We have been working with the property owner,” Lupinno said.

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More than 188 vehicles, 450 tires and “an enormous amount of solid waste” was ordered removed from the property.

Besides the vehicles, Lupinno also reported to the council the presence of “an enormous amount of solid waste left behind, 450-plus tires, and an assortment of household goods.”

He said the property owner has been given 173 junk vehicle affidavits to have the vehicles removed.

“If you drive by the property today,” he said, “it is a remarkable improvement.”

Lupinno praised the property owner for responding quickly, getting the right companies to have the vehicles removed.

“Thank you for your persistence in working with the property owner on that,” Pierce County Council member Stan Fleming told Lupinno at the meeting.

Since the county implemented the Property Maintenance Code on April 1, Pierce County Responds coordinator Yvonne Reed said that their focus has been on individual properties on the Key Peninsula.

“This is one property in your community that we have seen a lot of improvement on,” Reed said, briefing the council on the new county program’s progress on the Peninsula.

The new county program has received 105 reports of suspected violations of the code on the Peninsula. Of these, Reed said, approximately 25 percent have reached compliance.

Reed explained that the new code gives residents of the Peninsula a way to let the county know of abandoned and unsafe structures, acts of vandalism and even of unkempt yards.

Safety issues will be addressed first, she said. Issues with a lesser priority, such as unkempt yards and graffiti, will be logged and the complainants informed.

Reed said the feedback from the public has been positive.

The complaints are processed by the program’s staff and are then sent to the county buildings division.

“We’re getting quite a bit of compliance on that,” she added.

How to contact Pierce County Responds:

1) Call the hotline 253-798-4636.
2) Go online at piercecpountyresponse.org.
3) Visit the Pierce County Responds program office at the Tacoma Mall Plaza Building at 2702 42nd St., Suite 212, in Tacoma.

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