Code Enforcement: A Helpful Tool for Citizens
Everyone wants to live in a nice neighborhood. The City of Shavano Park has established standards to this effect, also known as Code Enforcement. Recently the City experienced the resignation of the Code Enforcement Officer, and the job of Code Enforcement fell under the umbrella of the Shavano Park Police Department. This article is designed to inform the citizens of the way that code enforcement issues will be handled by the Shavano Park Police Department.
Code Enforcement is the component of City services that handles complaints and concerns that relate to City codes. On a daily basis, City staff receives calls and written requests covering a wide range of community concerns. Issues such as garbage and junk in yards, businesses operating in inappropriate land-use zones, building without appropriate building permits, along with a host of others, are reported to or documented by the Police Department. Once received, a police officer will research and investigate the complaint, which will include a site visit by the officer. When the officer visits a site, they are either responding to a complaint that was filed with the City, or something that may have been observed during the normal course of business, that triggers a potential health or safety concern. If a violation is noted, it is the Police Department's goal to work with the responsible party to correct the violation. This is done by identifying and researching the code associated with the violation, and explaining what needs to be done to comply with the law. Referrals are often made to other agencies that may be able to aid in the correction process.
Once a violation has been observed, written notice in the form of a door hanger is given to the owner or placed on the front door, or a letter is mailed to the responsible party noting the violations that were found, along with a reasonable time frame in which corrections are to be made. The Shavano Park Police are happy to work with individuals who are willing to help themselves and show good faith in trying to resolve the problem. We understand that sometimes people are not aware they are in violation of a particular code until the City brings it to their attention.
Most citizens who receive a notice regarding code enforcement issues are more than willing to conform to the code and comply with the City's requests. Unfortunately, there are cases in which the owner and/or tenant fail to respond or refuse to make the necessary corrections. When all else fails and the City has offered as much assistance as it can, these cases will be referred to the Shavano Park prosecuting attorney to ensure that Shavano Park codes are complied with. Although it is not a course of action we like to take, this last-resort action is in the best interest of everyone in the community. The issue is one of fairness to the majority of the citizens who comply with the codes and obtain the necessary permits, while protecting the livability of our neighborhoods.
In most cases, the City staff will be able to help the complainant by using City resources to provide assistance and guidance to those who were not in compliance. We hope this provides a general understanding of what code enforcement is about and the Police Department's role.
For more information or clarification of specific codes, please call the Shavano Park Police Department at 492-9248 or the Shavano Park City Hall at 493-3478 Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.