McMinnville residents should take a moment to look around their homes, as codes enforcement will be doing just that. A push to right some wrongs is about to begin.
“We are upping enforcement when it comes to unfit and unsafe structures, outside storage and junk vehicles, and our old nemesis tall grass,” said McMinnville Planning and Zoning Department manager Josh Baker.
While the department has always tried to address codes violations, it has been running with minimal staff. However, two part-time employees were recently hired – Corey Stuart as a building inspector and Cari Anderson as a property maintenance inspector.
“We knew we needed to hire two people in order to do a sufficient job of enforcing city codes,” said Baker. “With two new employees on staff, we will be able to up enforcement and work on correcting violations.”
Also making the target list will be abandoned signs and signs in disrepair. Baker says there are a few neglected signs in the city.
“We do have some that were placed and have fallen into disrepair,” he said. “Others were placed and were actually abandoned.”
Notices, either written or verbal, will be given to property and sign owners found in violation of current city codes, says Baker.
“Normally, the first step is a letter,” he said. “Sometimes, we contact them by phone. Things like tall grass or junk, you will get a letter. When it comes to unfit structures, I will try and call. A calls lets me know pretty quickly if that property owner is willing to work with us.”
Then, the clock starts ticking:
• Tall grass violations are given 15 days to comply. Once the time has expired, the grass is mowed by the city at the property owner’s expense or the property owner is cited to court.
• Outside storage or junk vehicle violations are given 30 days to comply. If the items are not removed, the property owner is cited to court.
• The owners of abandoned signs are given 30 days to comply. If the sign remains in disrepair, the owner is cited to court. This does not include political signs, which can be removed immediately if placed against city code.
When it comes to the owners of unfit structures, the city requests an interior inspection. Bakers says a denied request will prompt the city to cite the individual to court.
“If the request is denied, they are cited to court,” said Baker of the interior inspection. “If we ask and they allow it, it’s usually a sign they are willing to work with us. It could be that we get in there and it’s not as bad as we thought. We try to work with them to correct any problems.”
To report city code violations against outside storage, junk vehicles, tall grass, abandoned signs or unfit structures, call McMinnville Planning and Zoning at 473-1204.