Methods of Enforcement
Historically, Code Enforcement cases were complaint-driven and initiated by a resident, business person, or community member. Today, with the advancements in our division, officers are more proactive in seeking ways to mitigate quality-of-life issues before receiving a call from a community member for assistance. On the occasion that a complaint is filed by a community member, handling the complaint typically follows a process.
Community members with concerns regarding a quality of life issue may have those concerns addressed in the following manner:
- In person at City Hall
- By calling the Code Enforcement Division directly
- Online complaint form
Once your concerns are filed with the division, the Office Specialist creates a case and includes the complaint information, description of the property, and any other essential information. The Office Specialist will then forward the case to the appropriate officer for follow-up.
When the officer receives the case, the officer will complete an inspection of the property. If during the investigation the officer determines that there are no visible violations of a state or local statute, the officer will note that and close the case. If on the other hand, a quality of life issue is identified that violates a state or local statute, the officer may then advance to the next level in the case-handling process.
Notice of Violation
The officer has a few options at this point. Depending on the type of violation, the officer may attempt to make contact with a responsible party and explain what brought the officer to their door. Occasionally, the concerns can be addressed at that time and resolve the problem before the officer leaves the property. Other scenarios may include issuing a written Notice of Violation (NOV) that will identify the areas of concern, which may be handed directly to a responsible party or posted on the property. Either way, it is the desire of the Division to seek voluntary compliance through education. When an NOV is issued, the NOV is assigned a case number and dated for a follow-up inspection. The follow-up inspections may be scheduled for the next day or up to 30 days, depending on the nature of the concern. On the more severe end of enforcement at this stage, the Officer also has the discretionary authority to issue an administrative citation or a criminal citation. In the case of an administrative citation, fines can range between $100 and $500. In the event a Criminal citation is issued, the individual is required to provide identification, sign the promise to appear, and show up in a criminal court to answer for the charges.
The re-inspection of the case is normally conducted between 14 and 30 days later as identified on the NOV; however, dependent on the caseload, the re-inspections may take place at a later date than was indicated. If during the re-inspection, the issues have been addressed as requested, the officer may then order the case to be closed. If during the re-inspection issues still remain, the officer will use his/her judgment on whether to grant an extension, issue a final warning notice, issue an administrative citation, or issue a notice to appear. As previously stated, it is the primary goal to seek voluntary compliance as opposed to issuing citations.