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Thread: Effective zoning compliance techniques

  1. #1

    Effective zoning compliance techniques

    As I sit at my desk writing non-compliance letters for various zoning violations, I am remembering being told on more than one occasion that these letters are impersonal and imposing, with talk of legal action against the property owner and referring to the city in third-person. SO....my question is: has anyone out there had any success with kinder, gentler ways of gaining compliance? Or what has worked for you?
    Personally, whenever possible, I prefer to call the property owner - especially if it is a business and give them a friendly verbal warning. I find that most of the time this is very effective. The problem with this is that there really is no record of it, unless I remember to write it down....

  2. #2
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    I feel that there is nothing wrong with the "impersonal" tone for a noncompliance letter.

    Though, if you do need to make it more friendly, keep referring to the City in the third person. It is the City that is sending the notice.

    I'm glad I no longer do compliance work.

    May God bless and keep you from killing people.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  3. #3
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    I have a "courtesy notice" that I use. I have found I get much better compliance on the first notice than when I used to do it the way you do.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  4. #4
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    If you have the time, the informal notice or phone call does work. We had to drop that step here due to our heavy caseload. Letter goes something like this:
    "...there may be a potential violation of the code provision (insert) at ___ address. We will inspect the property within ten days to see if further action is necessary." And you can have a form for "Finding of No Violation". It does work in places other than here.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    We use the courtesy notice as well. He have about an 85-90% success rate with it. We also provide information with the letter on how to dispose of things, pertinent numbers to call for more info (like how to get a title to a car), and some city sponsored options (like having a roll off dumpster deliverd, land fill vouchers, etc.).

  6. #6
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    We have the "friendly courtesy letter" that we use as our first notice. It's designed mainly to inform people of a violation and let them know how it can be corrected. We've found that many times people simply aren't aware of the rule and will comply once they are aware. We try to include snippits of the ordinance whenever possible and ask them to contact us to discuss the problem. There is no mention of legal action in this first letter. Yep, we're a warm and fuzzy code enforcement office... at least until the caseload gets too large.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  7. #7
    Quote Originally posted by giff57
    I have a "courtesy notice" that I use. I have found I get much better compliance on the first notice than when I used to do it the way you do.
    Quote Originally posted by cololi
    We use the courtesy notice as well. He have about an 85-90% success rate with it. We also provide information with the letter on how to dispose of things, pertinent numbers to call for more info (like how to get a title to a car), and some city sponsored options (like having a roll off dumpster deliverd, land fill vouchers, etc.).
    How is the courtesy notice worded? I like the companion letter idea, too.

    Quote Originally posted by mendelman
    May God bless and keep you from killing people.
    Don't think the thought hasn't crossed my mind...

  8. #8
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Ass. Planner
    How is the courtesy notice worded?
    I have a form. I have it printed into a four part carbonless form. PM me your email address and I'll send you the Word file.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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