Weatherford Democrat

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October 31, 2013

A code to live by

Enforcement officials say they first try a friendly approach when dealing with residential city code violations

(Continued)

“If we can’t get a hold of someone verbally at the residence, we put a door hanger on the door informing them of the problem,” Bates said. “Many times we never have to have a conversation because we’ll go back after the required 10 days (given to fix the problem) and the problem will be fixed.”

Many callers wonder why, when they call one day and then call again two or three days later, their complaint hasn’t been rectified or acknowledged. Bates said citations can’t be issued right away after a violation.

“We have to give them time to fix the problem if there actually is a problem,” Bates said. “On some occasions we have to tell the complainant that there is no violation of an ordinance.”

Three code enforcement officers drive around the city daily checking for conformity on such things as garage sales and parking. Because the officers can’t catch everything, they rely on residents to contact them on issues they may not be aware of.

Many residents do call with legitimate ordinance violations, Bates said, but there are others who are unclear on what a certain ordinance states or what exactly is a violation.

If a resident in violation doesn’t respond or make the required changes, other ways are tried, including a certified letter explaining the violation. Bates said between 500 and 600 violations are issued each year.

Still, there are others that are considered to be in violation of the ordinance, which went into effect in 2010. The ordinance states that cars must be parked in driveways if one is available.

Bates said many of the residences thought by the anonymous resident to be in violation aren’t.

“Many of the homes don’t have driveways or were built before the ordinance was put in, so they’re kind of grandfathered in,” Bates said. “It’s also against the ordinance to park on the grass, but we’ve found other areas where grass has grown through the gravel that was placed down where they can park, which isn’t a violation.

“Many older homes are considered to be non-conforming (of the parking ordinance) because they were constructed before the ordinance, but they are still considered legal under the ordinance,” Bates said.

For more information, visit the code enforcement section of the city’s website at ci.weatherford.tx.us, Scroll under departments and look for Code Enforcement or contact Bates at 817-598-4251.

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