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Code Compliance Process
The ordinance compliance inspectors become involved in the compliance process in two ways. The first is proactive patrol. Each inspector is assigned a specific geographic area of the city. The inspector's goal in proactive patrol is to visit every street in their district each week looking for violations and taking corrective action. The second process is in answer to resident complaints. The compliance inspector investigates complaints that are called in by residents, and then takes proper corrective action.

The first step of corrective action is to contact the property owner in person and advise them of the violation, and the steps necessary to correct it. If the inspector is unable to talk with the homeowner in person, a Red Door Tag is left with a description of the violation and a specific date in which the violation must be corrected. Property owners who receive a Red Door Tag are encouraged to call the inspector listed on the notice to discuss the violation. It is the goal of the compliance staff to work with homeowners to help them gain compliance.

If a property owner does not correct the violation by the time indicated on the notice, the compliance inspector may take the following steps:

  1. A Code Compliance letter with a deadline is sent to the resident.
  2. A Civil Infraction Notice is issued. This is a ticket that is issued for Civil Infractions only, and has a three-step fine schedule that goes up to $500.00 and is payable at the City Treasurer's office. Appeals for this ticket are handled by the 52nd 3rd District Court. Appeals for the Civil Infraction Notice ticket must be requested at the Treasurer's office.
  3. A Uniform Citation is issued. A Uniform Citation can be issued for civil infractions and misdemeanors. This citation is handled by the 52nd 3rd District Court and may result in fines of up to $500.00. The court is also authorized to issue a court order mandating that the property owner take immediate action to clear the violation. 
An important note for neighbors who live near a property that is out of compliance and a citation has been issued: Depending on the case load, it may take the District Court as long as three months after a ticket has been issued to hear the case. Often times, the court will allow the property owner a short period of additional time to clear the violation. If the violation is not rectified, and the court has given the city the authority to clean up the property, it may take additional time for the city to hire a contractor to get the violation corrected.

It is important to understand that the ordinance compliance inspector must personally observe the actual violation before issuing a notice or citation. It may be necessary to give access to your property so the inspector can see the violation from your perspective, especially when the violation is not visible from the public street. 

In some instances, such as a barking dog or a business activity in a residential area, it may be necessary for the concerned resident who has seen the violation to be the complainant, sign the citation, and be willing to testify at a District Court hearing.

Once again, it is up to each resident to be responsible and to care for their property to correct any code violations. It is our goal to work with residents, but we will use the necessary tools to gain compliance. 

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