Danville approves second of three code enforcement changes

Published 7:59 am Wednesday, March 1, 2017

By BEN KLEPPINGER

ben.kleppinger@amnews.com

Danville City Commission has approved a flow chart that will standardize how code violation reports are handled.

“The goal is to provide a path that shows how the process works clearly for … the community and say ‘this is what we follow in a uniform way,’” City Attorney Stephen Dexter said.

Ben Kleppinger
Danville City Attorney Stephen Dexter talks to Danville City Commissioners Monday about a new code enforcement flow chart that will standardize how code violations are handled.

City commissioners had reviewed the flow chart previously and requested specific time limits be added to ensure violation cases don’t drag on unnecessarily. The finalized version requires “appropriate contact” be made with an owner concerning a complaint within 48 hours of the complaint being made.

A code enforcement officer must assess the complaint to see if any actual violations exist within 72 hours.

If violations are found, a notice will be provided to the owner allowing 60 days for the violation to be corrected or the building to be razed if appropriate.

If after 60 days the violations remain, the case moves to the court system through a criminal summons, filed within 24 hours.

The flow chart is one prong of a “three-prong” plan to overhaul how code enforcement in Danville works.

The first prong is monthly reports to the city commission on code enforcement activity, which has already been in place for several months.

The flow chart and standardization of processes is the second prong, and the third is an ordinance that would allow code enforcement officers to issue fines for violations in addition to the costs for correcting violations.

Commissioners have reviewed a rough draft of the ordinance that didn’t yet have a fee schedule for different violations. Dexter said department heads are reviewing the proposed fee schedule and the city commission will be able to review a full draft of the ordinance at the next regularly scheduled meeting on March 13.

“That will be the last piece of the puzzle,” Mayor Mike Perros said.

SO YOU KNOW

The code enforcement flow chart contains the follow steps:

  1. Complaint received or observed by code enforcement officer
  2. Details of complaint recorded on “complaint investigation report form. Make appropriate contact within 48 hours.
  3. Code officer conducts investigation and completes inspection of structure and/or property. Assessment made within 72 hours of receiving complaint. If no violations found, investigation is closed.
  4. If violations are found, record all details, take correlating photos and issue notice of violation to property owner to repair or raze within 60 days, pending no unforeseen circumstances. If compliance is met, no further action is required.
  5. If compliance is not met, a criminal summons is issued to the property owner within 24 hours for failure to comply.
  6. If no evidence of progress is made, a district court preliminary hearing is set. If compliance is met, no further court action is required and the case is closed.
  7. If compliance is still not met, a trial date is set.
  8. If the owner is found guilty of a violation, a compliance deadline is determined by the court to abate the nuisance. If compliance is met, the investigation is closed and the case is dismissed.
  9. If compliance is still not met, the court will proceed with prosecution that could result in fines, imprisonment or both.