by Carol Glassman
The Feb. 11 meeting of the Code Enforcement Board opened with an overview of the code process by Assistant Police Chief Dave Baer. Baer reviewed the various ways cases are opened: by violations witnessed by code officers; complaints made by other citizens; and reports from other government entities, such as the county health department. Problems are then prioritized, he said, with those involving residents’ health, safety and welfare, such as a septic tank leaks, going on the fast track and being dealt with immediately.
Warnings are not issued to violations involving health and safety or to repeat violators, but in all cases, common sense is to prevail, he said. People are given a chance to remediate the problem before going before the board. Recurring violations and those that are time-based, involving construction sites, for example, are also dealt with quickly.
The goal is to use education before enforcement, he stressed, and often once a problem is pointed out, the violator will correct it immediately.
A report of a suspected situation has to be verified, and officers have to be sure that there is a problem, a city law has been violated, and that the city does have jurisdiction in that area.
Of the approximately 2,400 cases handled this past year, Baer said the most common complaints were still the usual things: weeds and overgrown lots, trash, misuse of right-of-way, noise.
Baer said he is glad that Code Enforcement is once again back in the police department and that there are some changes such as increased hours — seven-day weeks with hours that can extend to 10-12 per day. Officers report to Baer and to Officer Brian Hood. The city attorney will be coordinating a workshop of the Code Board with the police Department before the March meeting.
Of the four cases on the agenda, one was dismissed and one was tabled. Brien Spina of 300 Capistrano Court had applied for a permit and was installing the sewer connection. A case involving property at 83 Madagascar Court was tabled, pending new ownership.
A property at 119 Gulfport Court had accrued fines of $48,282 for failing to connect to the sewer system. After consideration of facts presented by an agent from Realty World, the board voted unanimously to reduce the fine to $5,757 to be paid in 60 days or the previous amount would be due.
A property at 1620 Almeria Court had outstanding fines of $64,172.02 for failing to connect to the sewer and maintenance costs by the city. After hearing new details from an agent from Downing Frye Realty, the board reduced the fines to $7,422.02 to be paid within 60 days, so that the property can be offered for sale without the extra financial encumbrance.
The next meeting of the Code Enforcement Board will be at 3 PM on Tuesday, March 11, at City Hall.