The Unified Government Neighborhood and Community Development Committee on Monday night voted to advance a proposal to increase the range of penalties for code enforcement violations.
The proposed fines start with $100 for a first code enforcement violation, then rise to $250 for the second violation within 24 months; $500 for the third violation within a 24-month period; $750 for a fourth violation within a 24-month period; $1,000 for a fifth violation within a 24-month period; and $1,500 for a sixth or subsequent violation within a 24-month period.
Greg Talkin, director of the UG Neighborhood Resource Center, told the commission that they have been struggling with habitual violators. Instead of changing the definition of habitual violator, they decided to add more steps to the administrative fine penalties, he said.
Sometimes those in violation are corporations or speculators in property, he said.
He said he hopes they never get to that higher level of fines, that people would work with them on issues.
“If individuals who are homeowners continue to work with us, hopefully we don’t even get to that $100 level,” he said.
The proposed change would add different divisions that are able to use the fines, he said. Currently, code enforcement and licenses are able to use this tax. The proposed ordinance change would add planning and zoning, air pollution, fire prevention, health and sanitation, and streets and sidewalks to those who could use the citation and fine process, he said.
Commissioner Brian McKiernan asked if anyone, individual or corporation, who engaged with the Neighborhood Resource Center could avoid the administrative fine process by engaging with the staff.
Talkin said they could as long as they engage honestly and have true intentions of working with them.
There is an administrative hearing officer with this process, and an appeal may be filed within 30 days of receiving a fine, Talkin said.
The motion by Commissioner Ann Brandau Murguia passed unanimously. This issue is scheduled to go to the full UG Commission for a vote on March 28.
In other action, the committee approved the transfer of property at 748 Seminary St., from the Land Bank to the Rosedale Development Association. The property is being used for a community garden.
The committee also approved the transfer of properties from the Dec. 18 tax sale into the Land Bank for further disposition. The properties being transferred received a bid, and then the sale did not go through. More than 100 properties were on this list. The list is contained in the committee agenda, for March 4, on p. 36 at https://wycokck.civicclerk.com/web/UserControls/DocPreview.aspx?p=1&aoid=1555.