City codes still hard to enforce

By BETH CRACE State Journal Staff Writer Published:

Fred Kidd would just like to see the place cleaned up.

"It's sad when you can sit in your house and smell your neighbor's (house) next door," said Kidd from the living room of his home on Butler Street.

For over a year, a handful of Butler residents have lobbied the city to enforce property maintenance codes at 118 Butler - a dilapidated structure with a sunken porch, broken windows, peeling paint and falling roof.

But the city's code enforcement officers say getting property owners to comply with local maintenance standards can sometimes be a challenging, and lengthy process.

Code Enforcement Supervisor Robert Engle said the city has around a 90 to 95 percent compliance rate in maintenance code violations. It's when a property owner doesn't comply, Engle said, that city officials run into problems.

Administratively, the city can cite the owner for a violation, which sets a time limit to respond and imposes a fine. If the property owner doesn't respond, a hearing is held before the Code Enforcement Board.

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