|Original Document: |
Text of Document:
July 16, 2002
Mr. Barry Baker, City Manager
City of Loudon
P.O. Box 189
Loudon, Tennessee 37774
Re: Streamlined Dilapidated Building Removal Procedure
Dear Mr. Baker
You have inquired about the Knoxville model property maintenance code that provides a streamlined procedure for the removal of dilapidated and unsafe structures. Attached is a copy of their code for your review. Their procedure does not appear to be any more streamlined than code procedures used by other cities.
Your city can adopt a procedure that provides for the code enforcer/inspector to inspect, give notice, and require that an unsafe building be repaired or be removed. He can carry it from step one to actually removing the structure in a streamlined manner. Under the provisions of the various codes and the laws of our state there has to be an appeal process should the owner disagree with the order of the code enforcer/inspector. Once the appeal is made the streamlined procedure is in the hands of the appeals board, be it a separate board or the municipal board. In many instances, the code enforcer/inspector has already given a reasonable time for compliance, and the first thing that the appeals board does is grant sixty (60) more days for compliance. If any progress is made toward repair, additional time is often given. The property may even be sold during this process. The procedure is no longer streamlined nor is it effective. The codes enforcer/inspector becomes disenfranchised because of additional time periods granted for compliance. He perceives that the board is not sincere in their efforts to obtain timely compliance and he loses interest. The codes enforcement process is no longer effective.
If you want a streamlined procedure I recommend the adoption of the “BOCA National Property Maintenance Code/1996" fifth edition (copyright protected, Building Officials & Code Administrators International, Inc., 4051 West Flossmoor Road, Country Club Hills, Il 60478-5795, telephone 708-799-2300) and a written procedure that outlines a maximum twenty (20) days to appeal the actions of the code enforcer/inspector and a policy of supporting the actions of the codes enforcer/inspector without delay unless it can be demonstrated that he has not followed the code or has made an error. The code makes it unlawful to sell the property until the code violation is adequately addressed. The procedure simply cannot be streamlined unless the board streamlines their process and supports the actions of the code enforcer/inspector. Many boards are not willing to do that.
Attached for your review is a copy of the Lenoir City codes review relating to building and property maintenance code enforcement and recommendations for improvement. MTAS could do a similar review for your city.
Please let me know if we can assist you by reviewing your existing codes and making recommendations for improvement or in adopting the maintenance code above stated.
Municipal Management Consultant