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Thread: Is your code enforcement division autonomous?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Is your code enforcement division autonomous?

    Well, I was just wondering what the Culture is regarding this.
    By definition Code Enforcement, here at my place of employment, is its own animal. Bridging the gap between the building code and the zoning code. Our zoning code is fairly self explanatory (as it is old and simple), yet nearly everyday Code Enforcement is up here wanting us to hold meetings for them, tell folks bad news, etc. Each of these instances is an easily solvable Code Enforcement issue-- basically give them a ticket, but when things get tough for them...

    We don't usually mind answering a quick question, or interpreting something for them but it seems that on some issues they rely on the Planning Division to do dirty work for them.

    What about your organization? Do Planning and Code Enforcement work hand-in-hand? Or does Code Enforcement take care of business without the need for Planning?
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  2. #2
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Our Code Enforcement Officer is part of the Building Department.

    I only tend to get involved when things end up at court.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  3. #3

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    Our code enforcement is somewhat uncomfortably divided between Building (Building Code), Fire, Police (Residential Code Enforcement) and Planning (the Plan Checker, and myself, sometimes, do planning code enforcement). Coordination is a challenge, although we have instituted a monthly "team meeting" to improve coordination. The team apporach is called (MY acronym, of course): Code Compliance Coordination Program (CCCP)

  4. #4
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Our code enforcement is part of the Building Dept. They are generally good with not make us, in Planning, the bad guys. They do need to come to us for interpretation. It all works quite well. Plus, Building does all the permit inspections and sign code administration, which is also nice. Planning Director did not want to have to deal with sign code administration.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  5. #5
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Code Compliance is a separate division in my county. They come to us often for interpretations.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Code Enf is a division of Building Inspections and at their root, focus on three things:

    1) Building Code Enforcement
    2) Rental Registration/Inspection
    3) Environmental Enforcement

    We enforce our zoning regs, fire enforces their fire regs, and the po-po enforce criminal law and most other non-criminal offenses.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Yup....

    Our code enforcement officers (2) work under Community Development with the Chief Building Official as immediate supervisor.... I get pulled out of my office to calm people down at the counter or drop the hammer on a difficult/rude/dangerous customer

    I like the idea of Code Enforcement being under a Community Development Director more than under a Planning Director. This at least provides a little distance between the two groups, with the CD Director being a tie breaker This way they can enforce more than just the zoning regulations (Buidling and Public Works).

    I've seen regulations that identify planners and planning directors as a certain class of code enforcement officer
    Skilled Adoxographer

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Since I manage a smaller department, planning, building and code enforcement is all combined in the same department. The duties are split between a plan reviewer and building inspector.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Just to further my point, we had a CE officer come up informing us that one of his cases is being transferred (not officially of course) to Planning because the offender has said that Planning took care of it. Rather than research the supposed "solution", CE is wiping their hands clean of this one.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  10. #10
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    My physical office has our Code Enforcement Officer in itfor customer service purposes and for professional cooridnation but for reasons that occurred before I showed up, she reports to the Fire Chief and not me.

    Most of the time it works well, but when things get rough, I usually take over or there is an attempt to blame me behind my back - luckily I still have Teflon coating so it works okay

    There is also a coup of trying to get one of my secretaries to report to her and only help me out but i have managed to perform a good "shields up" on that too -

    isn't it fun?

  11. #11
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    Our bylaw (aka code) enforcement is done by bylaw officers in the RCMP. Unfortunately, they don't write tickets from horseback though.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    I just said yes to a minor site plan that I should have said no to imo, but the Code Enforcement Officer CEO) had advised the applicant that the use was allowed so I really shouldn't/can't go against that since the CEO doesn't work for me and her job is interpreting the ordinance, so I have to go along with it - but if it gets appealed it's on me, not her, because the signature on the decision is mine

    and she does undermine me every chance she gets too since I started here, albeit without any gain to her own standing in the organization, so most (not all, I admit) of the time that backstabbing stuff doesn't bother me

    so having Code and Planning separated sometimes does not work when permititng is so intertwined - if she worked for me, I would have blown off her opinion as just that, an opinion, and denied the project

  13. #13
          Downtown's avatar
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    If the issue is building code, or zoning - the Building Department handles CE, if it is an issue with Site Plan - missing/dead landscaping, dumpster in teh wrong location or not screened, etc - that's us.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    “Codes” is a loaded word. The state and federal building codes are enforced by our building inspectors. Everything else is enforced by our Zoning and Codes Administrators, including Maister and I.

    However, the building department, planning, zoning, CDBG & neighborhood services, and economic development are all parts of our Community Development Department.
    Invest in the things today, that provide the returns tomorrow.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian developmentguru's avatar
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    In our municipality, they are separate and under theNeighborhood Development department umbrella, while Planning is under the Community & Economic Development department umbrella. Coordination was tough at first, but we've worked that out. The problem we have is that the code officers and the enforcement officials for the building and permits division both have the right to go onto a property to check for enforcement. The Zoning Ordinance we have does not give that authority. On zoning cases, the only right to trespass is during the construction phase. After that, if the property owner doesn't want anybody on-site, they can kick them (or us) off the premises. This has made it INCREDIBLY difficult to enforce home occupations. The only time they can garner the proof they need, in most instances, is only after issuance by a municipal judge of an administrative search warrant.

    Does anybody else have this problem or similar? We're at a loss...

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