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Thread: Effective and fun code enforcement

  1. #1
    Dec 2009
    Clear Lake, Minnesota

    Effective and fun code enforcement

    I wrote a paper on an alternative method of enforcement of zoning and exterior property maintenance codes and ordinances that was published in the March 2012 edition of AICP Practicing Planner. The reaction to the paper was interesting; planners loved it - building officials detested it.

    That doesn't surprise me. CBOs view the world in black and white tones reflective of enforcement of state building codes, while planners correctly view the world in shades of grey. Zoning code enforcement is definitely a grey area and doesn't lend itself to an "either or" solution.

    If any of your cities (or counties or townships) are stressing out over code enforcement, I'd like to hear about it........either on this thread, or by e-mailing me direct ***. I might be able to help....

    Moderator note:
    *Hink Welcome Dale! We usually keep emails hidden until a user is more established. It seems like you hit on a great topic. Hopefully you will get some response from Cyburbians. Again, glad to have you!
    Last edited by Hink; 30 Jun 2012 at 2:35 PM.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Tobinn's avatar
    Aug 2005
    Clearwater, FL

    Code Enforcement: The Angry Neighbor's Weapon of Choice

    In my fair city we have Building Inspectors, Planners and Code Enforcement. We call our Code Enforcement group "Community Response Team". The CRT only deals with zoning code issues. I guess we've long since separated out the black and white from the gray and grayer.

    One scenario I've seen played out over the years are neighborhood spats where the City is used as a weapon between neighbors - on eneighbor reports another and then back and forth. Doesn't happen often but it does happen. The result is that half the time there isn't actually any code violations happening and the other half of the time it's the sort of violation which probably never would have been picked up on the radar by the City and probably not even by "normal" neighbors.

    Has this happened to you (or any other Cyburbian) and if so how do you let this sort of thing play out?

    We simply do our jobs and end up running back and forth between properties until the "storm" abates and everyone gets tired.

    At times like this, you have to ask yourself, "WWJDD?"
    (What Would Jimmy Durante Do?)

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
    May 2002
    Between here and there
    The only "fun" I ever had as an enforcement officer was when I could tell an irate and irrational neighbor to shove his complaint up his oriface. Seriously, 75% of my cases boiled down to nothing more than neighbors complaining about each other. Some of these amounted to being dissatisfied after a poorly done job from an illegal home business.

    Code enforcement is the most thankless aspect of a mostly thankless career choice.
    What do you mean I can't plan? My SimCity has 390,269 people with a 99% happiness rating (1/23/2017)!

  4. #4
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
    May 2005
    Metro Detroit
    Anyone who thinks code enforcment can be fun, is either:

    1. Dilussional
    2. Not really involved in the trenches of code enforcement.
    3. Dilussional.
    4. Not doing their job effectively.
    5. Dilussional.
    6. A Masochist.
    7. Dilussional.

    There are some great code enforcement officers out there, many of which enjoy their jobs. But to call it "fun" is stretching it quite a bit in my book.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  5. #5
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
    Blog entries
    Now I want to see the link!

    Anyhow, I can't think of any way sign code enforcement could be made fun. Maybe as a completest exercise along a certain corridor, attempting to find every violation?
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  6. #6
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
    May 2005
    Metro Detroit
    I've read this guy's article. It's nothing groundbreaking in my opinion. And this is not a knock against the opening poster.

    I think the crux of it is that there are different ways to approach code enforcement depending on the situation/person, and that it shouldn't be a one-side-fits-all approach.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

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