Entries Tagged 'Code Enforcement' ↓

Code Enforcement out of control

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I have suggested recently to a city councilor that complaints should be filed on a form at the code enforcement office or an online form. You must write the violation you think exists, YOUR NAME, address and phone number. I think the ANON complaint system leaves room for abuse and harrassment and it is unconstitutional to have an ANON witness. If someone chooses to appeal a code violation, the complaintant should have to appear at that appeal hearing as a witness to the alleged violation.

When speaking to a councilor about it, I compared it to being a witness to a car accident. There is a good possibility that you would have to appear in court.

Enough of the anon tattle-tale system. Put your big boy pants on, and own up.

SF City Council Public Input 9/9/14

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It’s not Rocket Science

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Just what is being done by city legislators when it comes to fixing the boulevard ordinance?

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That is a very good question. The current ordinance states:

96.010  RIGHT-OF-WAY LANDSCAPING.

   (a)   The portion of a dedicated public right-of-way between the street and the property line excepting the sidewalk shall be landscaped and maintained by the abutting property owner. Landscaping shall be limited to sod, seed or other living ground cover approved by the city. Nonliving ground cover, including, but not limited to, rock, stone, brick concrete, asphalt or other like materials, shall not be used as landscape material except as provided herein.
   (b)   The city may authorize the use of nonliving ground cover for landscaping a public right-of-way when it is determined that a location will not allow for adequate maintenance of sod or other living ground cover. This exception shall not include the use of loose rock or asphalt as landscaping material.
(1992 Code, § 38-12)  (Ord. 37-03, passed 5-5-2003)
As you can see, as it currently states, your boulevard can ONLY be green cover. When is our council going to fix this? I do know that some councilors agree, this needs to be revised so thousands of residents can be in compliance. The mayor and some of the council say just leave it as is.
The problem with that is that there is NOTHING stopping code enforcement from giving out violations. Nothing. As the ordinance is written right now, they can give out a violation to anyone who is not in compliance. And they can pick and choose who those violators are.
So how is ‘doing nothing’ fixing the problem? I encourage our council works on revising the ordinance.

Reward the troublemakers, punish the property owners

Yesterday one of my South DaCola foot soldiers had a voicemail left in the afternoon. It was a message from a reporter at one of the local TV stations. She said she wanted to do a story about flowers in the boulevard. The soldier called them back about 30 minutes later, and the reporter told her that they no longer were going to do the story.

So what happened in that 30 minutes? I wonder if a call was also placed to city hall?

As for people who are beautifying city property (boulevards). I find it ironic that the city wants to punish people who are using their own resources to improve city property through code violations and fines.

But when other citizens of our community drink all day in one of our public parks, pass out, get into fights, etc. the city administration decides to reward them with bathrooms, picnic tables and a fence to contain their rowdiness.

To hell with a Bad Neighbor, more like a Bad Mayor.

UPDATED: Sioux Falls ‘Flower Police’ strike hard and fast

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UPDATED: This is the photo of where the flowers had to be torn out, you can see they were cut out. I think it actually looks worse, because now it is just a bunch of rocks. I guess how this came about was code enforcement tried to fine a lady with rocks in her boulevard, and she got mad and took around 40 photos of other properties violating the same thing she was, so code enforcement chased them down also. Ridiculous. I sometimes wonder if city employees or managers THINK before they act on stupid stuff like this.

Recently a resident of Sioux Falls was asked to remove her flowers from the boulevard (Day Lillies) by city code enforcement. This is in the wake of the city council recently stating they want to review the administration’s recommendation to limit flower planting and other landscaping in the boulevard.

According to current city ordinance, your entire boulevard should be grass only. But after the city council heard about the proposed changes they asked for the city code enforcement to not enforce the current ordinance until they come up with proposed changes, and they agreed they would not pursue issuing fines (because there are thousands of violators city wide). Apparently the code enforcement officers don’t give a rat’s behind what the city council thinks. The resident was asked to tear out the flowers within a week or face a $100 fine.

Code enforcement is supposedly based on neighbor complaints, but I guess all the neighbors of this resident were so upset the city did this, they sent the lady sympathy cards.

This has renewed an interest in a petition drive that may start very soon regarding what residents can plant in their boulevards and having the city public works trim THEIR trees in the boulevard instead of fining and charging residents to trim them.

Once again, if citizens want PUBLIC SERVICE and CONSTITUTIONAL Property RIGHTS they have to pursue it on their own at the ballot box, because our elected officials are asleep at the wheel. Just look at how long it is taking them to ban alcohol at Van Eps Park?

Get your ‘Boulevard’ on!

The city is tired of NO consistency with boulevard landscaping in town (and those pesky decorative mailboxes). How dare people allow their homes to look different then their neighbors. Better charge them with criminal nuisance! (I won’t get into that). So now they are suggesting a compromise of allowing up to 20% to be landscaped, and you have to get a permit from the city (never miss an opportunity to miss out on a pointless fee).

This is how I look at it. The city owns the boulevard, but the adjacent homeowner/business is responsible for maintaining it, they should be allowed to landscape it however they want to within reason, circumstance and how the area is zoned. If the city wants to TELL us how our boulevards should look, fine. You can come and mow them and trim trees in them. But since we are responsible for the maintenance, we should have a say in what goes in them.

Of course, in this document (DOC) they show a lot of bad examples. That is a whole other ball of wax, if someone isn’t maintaining it properly, then yes, they should have to. But telling people they can’t have flowers or painted green boulders (that one made me laugh) on property they maintain doesn’t make sense, seems they are getting their panties in a bunch over nothing. But since our city is run like a dictatorship, it doesn’t surprise me. Pretty soon they will start arresting people for not mowing their lawns.

A word of advice to Huether, tread lightly when you are considering retaliation

From Guest Poster. I have heard about similar incidents in Sioux Falls who dare to speak out against the mayor get visits by code enforcement. In fact, one of the stories is about to boil to the top here real soon;

A Peoria, Illinois man sued his local mayor for ordering a police raid on his home in response to a Twitter account mockingly portraying the official as being preoccupied with alcohol and strippers,WGN-TV reported on Friday.

The plaintiff, 29-year-old Jon Daniel, identified himself as the creator of @PeoriaMayor in a press conference on Thursday, saying he did so as a joke originally intended to be read by himself and his friends.

 

Trash Can ordinance

The new proposed trash can ordinance has me a bit on the fence;

The Sioux Falls City Council will vote this month on an ordinance that would require residents to keep trash cans hidden — either inside, behind or beside a structure.

Personally, I keep my cans in my garage. The main reason is because I have gotten dogs, cats and other critters who have gotten into them when leaving them outside. I have even had random people ‘add’ to my garbage. I would agree with this assumption though;

Some garbage haulers are worried a proposed change to keep trash bins out of sight will mean more customers forgetting to put them out on collection day.

I forget quite a bit, mainly because my hauler teamed up with another one and they changed my collection day, but also as the old adage goes, out of site, out of mind. I probably forget about 25% of the time to put my trash out.

In some ways the ordinance doesn’t make any sense, because obviously they will still allow the cans to be out on your driveway on collection day, so in some ways, there will always be cans visible any day of the week, on any block in this town. Secondly, most people don’t own there receptacles, so how do you enforce a homeowner to store a trash can that they do not own? And lastly, I am a big property rights person, the city telling people where they need to put their cans is just silly, I think this line says it all;

“To me, it’s just a vote on city aesthetics,” LaVergne said Monday, standing in his driveway in southwest Sioux Falls.

Once again, we have become a city that is worried how things look on the surface instead of worrying about the bigger issue, how much will this cost us in higher fees from the haulers when they have to start digging around for our cans? That and the fact that the landfill is increasing drop rates. Once again it seems we are looking for a solution to a problem that doesn’t need to be fixed and will only end up costing us more.

Dumbass city.

People who build ‘Rat Rods’ are ‘Bad Neighbors’

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Image: KELO-TV

Leave it up to Jorgi and camera crew to take a picture of this truck. This guy must be in violation, look at the scary maltese cross on the door. This is the first thing I thought when I saw the truck (commenter on FB);

I have a complaint! In this story, you had footage of a pickup truck, when you mentioned abandoned vehicles. That particular vehicle is not abandoned! It belongs to a friend of mine, and is what they call a “rat rod”. It IS registered and licensed. I think you should apologize for not doing proper research, and maybe do a story on the ” Rat rod” scene in the Sioux Falls area. You would learn that the folks who build threes cars are very proud of them. I agree about the problem you covered, but in this case, you blew it.

Yeah, it would be nice if KELO did a story about ‘Rat Rods’ but you can thank DTSF for chasing Automania out of town.

If someone fails to do something about the problem within a few days, the City will issue a fine of $100.  If the property owners continue to ignore the problem, the City will fine them another $200.  A third violation can result in a $300 fine for a total of $600 in fines all together.

And this is where the city has it wrong legally. You can’t continue to issue fines until the first violation has been resolved, and you certainly can’t make them pay every violation. The city has learned nothing from the Dan Daily Supreme court case, except keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results. The code enforcement ‘system’ in Sioux Falls is broken, not jut because the ordinances are poorly written but because the people in charge of the department are power hungry bullies that take pleasure in harassing property owners.

As for abandoned homes that have no clear title holder, that is an issue all in itself. That has to do with property that has ownership problems. By all means, clean it up and take care of it. But if someone is working on their own licensed vehicle on THEIR property, how is that a violation? The city has no right to tell you what you can do on your own property as long as it is not illegal activity. The city charter is hardly the law of the land, and quite laughable if you ask me.

This code enforcement firestorm by the city and media is out of control. The Charter Revision Commission needs to take a serious look at the ordinances that deal with property cleanup and maintenance.

And BTW, nice job on the staged trash shots by the cameraman to make it look like trash is all over the place. I had to laugh at the containers that were clean and clearly probably taken from the KELO break room trash can. That’s some serious ‘investigative’ journalism Jorgi.