Code Enforcement is a service provided to properties within the city limits that are discovered to be in violation of city ordinances. The most common type of violation that the Code Enforcement Officer addresses is that involving weedy lots. The ordinance on weedy lots states that on properties zoned residential, commercial or industrial, the maximum height of weeds should not be more than 12”. If during the course of routine inspections throughout the city, lots are found in violation of the ordinance, an annual notice will be sent via certified letter to the owner of record that they are in violation. After a reasonable tenure asking the owner to mow the lot and it is verified that the lot has been mowed, then the owner has complied with the ordinance and no other action will follow. On the other hand, if the lot is not mowed, city crews are sent to mow the properties with the administrative costs and the mowing services being paid for by the property owner. During the course of the same calendar year, if the lot is again determined to violate the weed ordinance, then a courtesy notice will be mailed to the owner, by regular mail. The city crews will be directly sent to mow the lot with the administrative and mowing costs mailed for the owner to pay. If the owner refuses to pay, the city files a lien on the property each time it provides this service.
The Code Enforcement Division is an important tool of the city because it is the arm that verifies and seeks compliance with health and safety codes. If a property is found to be non-compliant, the Code Enforcement Staff will undergo the process of advising the owner of the discovered violation, providing a tenure to conform, verifying if compliance has been achieved by the due date, filing charges in Municipal Court for those that are still non-compliant, verifying prior to the court’s hearing date if the owner complied or not, representing the city at the court level, and then following up with the conditions of the court, which may involve a re-set of the case to a new docket which will involve the verification efforts all over again.
Other ordinances that the Code Enforcement Office deal with include junked vehicles, peddlers and garage sales not having proper permits, nuisance violations, health-related regulations and building setbacks.
To report illegal dumping please call Code Enforcement at (956) 580-8697.
Why Dumping is Bad for the Environment?
Hazardous waste can cause environmental problems. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has listed four types of hazardous wastes:
- Toxic Waste – exposure to this can result in illness and/or death. Small concentrations of highly toxic chemicals, such as pesticides, cleaning products and paints, may cause symptoms of poisoning.
- Corrosive Waste – any waste, such as battery acid, may cause a chemical reaction that can degrade or eat away organic and non-organic materials.
- Ignitable Waste – waste, such as gasoline, lighter fluid and kerosene, are easily combustible and can easily result in wildfires.
- Reactive Waste – wastes, such as cyanide solution from ore refining, that can react with air, water or other substances causing rapid heating or explosions.
Decreased Property Value
Illegal dump sites can ruin the aesthetic beauty of an area and significantly decrease adjacent property values. A dump may be an inexpensive means of disposing of waste, but it could end up costing the property owner significantly when the owner tries to sell the property.
What Can You Do To Stop Illegal Dumping?
If you witness illegal dumping, then get detailed descriptions and report them to a local law enforcement agency. NOTE: Never approach or confront anyone suspected of illegal activity, including illegal dumping. DO NOT put your own safety in danger. Useful information when making the report includes:
- License plate number and description of the vehicle (make, model, year, condition of the vehicle, color, etc.)
- Number of people involved with descriptions (gender, hair color, build, approximate age)
- Date/time of the incident
- Location and/or directions to the illegal dump site
- Ownership of the illegal dump site, whether public or private
- Your name and phone number