It’s A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

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… Or Is It?

Code enforcement is an issue that many communities struggle with regardless of size or staff capability. Having good enforcement capabilities and processes allows the community to implement the visions, goals, and standards that the community and leaders spent a lot of time deciding they wanted. 

Actually enforcing what is in the code can be at times very challenging and cause anxiety among those involved. Rural communities with very little staff have this problem expanded. Not only do they have to enforce their code but in most cases these violations are done by their neighbors or even close family members making enforcement difficult and awkward to say the least. 

Why Bother With Code Enforcement If It’s Such A Headache?

Enforcing your code protects private property rights, makes your community more desirable to visitors in turn supporting the local economy, and raises the quality of life for current and future generations. When a community lacks effective code enforcement, it can have significant impacts on various aspects of the community such as:

  • Public Safety Concerns.  Code enforcement plays a vital role in ensuring public safety.  Without property enforcement, buildings and structures may not meet safety standards, posing risks to occupants and the surrounding community.  Fire safety violations, inadequate electrical wiring, or substandard construction practices can lead to accidents, injuries, and property damage. 
  • Deteriorating Infrastructure.  Buildings and properties that are not properly maintained may fall into disrepair, leading to blight and reduced property values.  This can negatively impact the overall aesthetic appeal of the community and discourage investment in the area leading to unmaintained infrastructure that eventually deteriorates past the point of no return.
  • Environmental Concerns.  Code enforcement is crucial for protecting the environment.  Without proper oversight, practices such as improper waste disposal, unregulated construction, or lack of environmental safeguards may occur.  Resulting in potential pollution of water sources, damage to ecosystems, and negative impacts on natural resources.
  • Quality of Life Concerns.  Noise disturbances, illegal signage, unregulated outdoor storage, or excessive litter can disrupt the peacefulness and enjoyment of the community.  The lack of enforcement can create a sense of frustration and dissatisfaction among residents affecting their overall well-being.
  • Economic Impacts.  Inadequate code enforcement can hinder economic development.  Businesses and potential investors may be discouraged from establishing or expanding operations in a community with either lax or no enforcement.  This can limit job opportunities, impede local economic growth, and contribute to an overall decline in economic vitality.

How You Can Do Better

To address these impacts, it is crucial for local jurisdictions to not only establish but also maintain an effective code enforcement system.  This includes hiring qualified personnel, implementing clear and comprehensive codes and regulations, conducting regular inspections, having those uncomfortable conversations, and enforcing penalties for violations.  While you likely won’t be remembered as Mr. Rogers, you can rest easy at night knowing you are maintaining public safety, protecting the environment, promoting economic growth, and enhancing the overall well-being of residents, whether they recognize and appreciate it or not.

Don’t Be Shy…

Call Rural Community Consultants today to get expert planning, economic, and ordinance advice to make your community the best it can be.

Want to Learn More?

Check out our online training modules! Note: Rural Community Consultants is able to provide access to specific training modules free of charge, courtesy of the Utah Office of the Property Rights Ombudsman.

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