Lead Safe Ordinance Presented to Toledo City Council

 

The Kapszukiewicz administration presented a new lead safe ordinance to Toledo City Council today to address the alarming consequences of lead exposure, especially among children.

“Our goal is to make sure Toledo is a lead-safe community, and that every child can grow up without the terrible effects of lead poisoning,” Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said. “This is not an easy goal for any city, but we believe the new law we presented to Council today will help us meet that challenge while working together with the Lead Coalition, landlords, tenants, and other community members.”

The new lead ordinance, titled “Residential Rental Properties and Lead Safety Compliance,”is based on the language of the 2016 ordinance and created in partnership with community stakeholders.

It is the policy of the City of Toledo to help prevent the poisoning of residents by requiring that the presence of deteriorated paint, bare soil, and lead dust on the interior and exterior of pre-1978 residential structures be identified and correctly addressed in accordance with federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and guidelines in order to prevent potential human exposure to lead hazards.

The proposed law seeks to increase lead-safe housing, starting with the highest risk populations in the city, and prevent tenant displacement and property abandonment by providing information, education, and assistance to tenants and owners, which may also increase compliance. The city intends to use measurable data to inform policymakers and guide program implementation.

The proposed law targets 1-4-unit rentals and childcare homes built prior to 1978. The City Department of Neighborhoods will coordinate, the Code Enforcement Division will enforce, and the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department will issue 5- and 20-year lead-safe certificates, according to the ordinance. The compliance deadline set by the ordinance is June 30, 2022 for initial census tracts that are most at risk. A 5-year phase-in schedule, with 6-month increments, will be established for remaining census tracts. An updated map of the census tracts will be found at toledo.oh.gov/lead-safe-map upon passage. All fees related to the lead-safe certificates will be deposited in the “Lead Ordinance Fund” and all fines related to enforcement of the proposed law will be deposited into the Nuisance Abatement Trust Fund, to be used exclusively for the administration, implementation, and enforcement of the law.

A lead-safe certificate will be required for 1-4-unit residential rental properties and family childcare homes originally constructed prior to Jan. 1, 1978. Certified properties will be listed on a publicly accessible resource portal. Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority-owned and operated public housing properties will be exempt from the ordinance so long as compliance under HUD’s lead-safe standards are maintained. LMHA will be required to provide a list of those addresses on an annual basis. Qualifying properties must pass a visual and dust wipe inspection performed by a local lead inspector. No certificate will be issued until the inspection is passed. Certified properties will be added to the lead-safe rental registry. The certificate is valid for 5 years. Fully abated properties are eligible for a 20-year certificate with proper documentation.

“Data shows that the highest level of risk for lead contamination is contained within our 1-4-unit housing stock,” Mayor Kapszukiewicz said. “We also have more than 108,000 housing units constructed prior to 1970.”

The city has already hired a lead safe coordinator, who will monitor the program and report measurable metrics to City Council on an annual basis and execute a previously council-approved 18-month agreement with a firm to help educate the public on lead safety.

“We are planning ongoing coordination to strengthen policy, programming, communications, and community resources,” the mayor said.