Report Code Violations
Caring for Our City
One of the civic responsibilities we all share is keeping our City attractive and well maintained. Garden City Code Enforcement works every day to enforce the codes and ordinances contained within Garden City's Code of Ordinances and the International Property Maintenance Code. Our job is to keep the City looking great and to work to maintain a high quality of life for our residents, business owners, and visitors. In recent years, we have received an increasing number of citizen complaints about overgrown lots in neighborhoods and the general lack of property maintenance.
The City’s Property Maintenance Code Ordinance has been written for the common good, as we all understand the importance and value of living in a community that is attractive, cared for and safe. Research has shown that overgrown yards, peeling paint, and exterior clutter make a negative impression. Overgrown and unkept personal properties can create places for vermin to hide and as well as mosquito breeding sites. Furthermore, they can contribute to lowering personal property values, affect the character of a neighborhood, and have a negative impact on the economic development of an entire community. On the contrary, an attractive neighborhood adds to home values, encourages business investments, and has been proven to positively influence the behaviors of others.
Personal property maintenance plays a significant role in building a stronger community.
Why is the Maintenance of Personal Property Important?
The maintenance of personal property plays a collective part in the overall stability, safety and economic development of every community. When families or businesses consider locating in Garden City, the conditions of our personal property and neighborhoods are often the deciding factor. In addition, by maintaining the exterior and premises in a clean and safe condition, this can help to protect the value and longevity of your personal property.
Commonly Cited Code Violations
When Garden City’s Enforcement Officers are proactively patrolling the City, they are looking for several things to include, but not limited to: overgrown lots, unkempt vacant properties, dilapidated houses, derelict vehicles, illegal businesses and other environmental issues.
Code Enforcement Procedures
In general, the procedures for code enforcement must make certain that due process is given to every property owner. Due process is defined as “ a fundamental, constitutional guarantee that all legal proceedings will be fair and that one will be given notice of the proceedings and an opportunity to be hear before the government acts to take away one’s life, liberty, or property. “ The downside to ensuring due process is that it slows down the actions and procedures to resolve the problem. However, correct due process measures are mandatory and avoid infringing on a property owner’s rights and potential legal consequences.
The general process for Code Enforcement in Garden City includes the following:
- Code Enforcement Officers either receive a complaint or encounter public nuisance or code violations during daily inspections.
Code Enforcement Officers investigate the potential nuisance and gather evidence and facts.
If the property or structure is occupied:
Code Enforcement Officers will attempt to contact the tenant / owner to inform and educate about the violation. Code violations are often corrected by the property owner after initial contact.
- If initial contact is not successful, a Code Violation Notice will be left at the property which details the code violation, correction date, and contact information for the Code Enforcement Officer.
- If the violation is not corrected in the time frame outlined or Code Enforcement Officers have exhausted all resources, the property will be posted and a Certified Letter will be sent. The compliance deadline is 15 days from the violation date.
- Code Enforcement officers follow up with the owner and remain visible during the 15-day compliance period.
- If the violation is not resolved or the property is not brought into compliance within the specified deadline, the City will issue a ticket to Court to the owner or agent of the property to Garden City Municipal Court. At that time, the Municipal Court Judge can fine and/or incarcerate the owner or agent of the property, as well as rule that he or she correct the violation within a time frame the Judge sets. In some instances, the Judge may allow the City to correct the violation and charge the incurred expenses to the property owner.
If the property or structure is vacant:
- Code Enforcement Officers make every effort with the resources available, such as: property record research certified letters, phone calls, discussions with neighbors and other property owners to ensure that the property is brought into compliance as quickly as possible.
- If contact is not successful and the violation still exists, a Code Violation Notice along with a letter is sent certified via mail. The property will also be posted. The compliance deadline will be 15 days from the violation date.
- If the violation still has not been brought into compliance within the specified deadline, the City will issue a Court ticket to the owner or agent of the property to Garden City Municipal Court.
- Some issues can be corrected by the City without an appearance in Court. An example is noxious weeds, the City is required to place a notice in the legal section of the Savannah Morning News for 14 days. If the property remains non- compliant at the end of the legal notice period, the City under the authority of Mayor and Council, has the authority to hire a contractor to enter upon the property in violation and correct the violation’ The owner or the agent of the property is to reimburse the City for the costs. If the costs are not paid within 30 days, a lien will be placed on the property by the Garden City Attorney.