Q: What is the proper process for reporting a suspected codes violation and how long should one expect resolution to take? How can a complainant check on the status of a complaint? Can a complaint be anonymous?
A: George Kinney, the head of St. Pete Beach’s Community Development Department, answered this.
Reporting code violations
This process varies from one situation to next, Kinney explains, but “normally it begins with a complaint from a resident or city employee.” Once the city’s Code Enforcement Officer (CEO) receives the complaint, she goes into the field and investigates the property in question. From there, she can decide whether or not the property violates the city code. If she can’t find a violation, the city attempts to notify the person who complained (although, since people may complain anonymously or not leave contact information, this isn’t always possible).
If she finds a violation, the CEO will either contact the property owner or send out a Notice of Violation (NOV), which includes the nature of the violation, mitigation recommendations, and a time frame for compliance, Kinney says.
Time-frame for resolution
This, too, will vary, depending on the situation. The city sends the NOV regular and certified mail (that’s the law in Florida). While the “abatement period” (time the property owner has to fix the violation) runs between seven days and one month, the clock doesn’t start ticking until the owner receives notice, which can add another 30 days onto the process.
Currently, the best way to track a code enforcement action is to speak directly with the CEO. Call 363-9211 to report a violation or check the status of a complaint.
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