Sedona AZ (June 14, 2014) – Code enforcement, what is it?
The City’s Code Enforcement program is administered by the Community and Economic Development Department and was created in part to help residents and business owners understand and follow the rules of city codes and ordinances and to ensure equal opportunities to create a safe, healthy, satisfying life, while enjoying the spectacular natural beauty our community offers. To carry out this mission, the City employs two full-time Code Enforcement staff members. As the City’s Senior Code Enforcement Officer, it is my responsibility to fairly, consistently, and humanely enforce the provisions of the City Code and Land Development Code. My partner is Frank Vocca, and we work for Audree Juhlin in the Community and Economic Development Department.
When asked what it is we do, I typically respond that we work toward maintaining the quality of life in Sedona for residents, business owners, and visitors. As a retired Police Chief, I frequently compare it to community policing, a philosophy that promotes organizational strategies that support the use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques to proactively address issues. We’re out to make a positive difference.
This time of year, working cooperatively with the Sedona Fire District, we emphasize the importance of property owners keeping weeds and other vegetation trimmed not only for aesthetic reasons, but also for fire prevention. During the summer months, we encounter frequent noise complaints. Throughout the year, we respond to many issues such as illegal signage, abandoned vehicles, unsightly properties, the permissible color of buildings and construction activities without valid building permits.
Business owners frequently express their desire for a level playing field in which all play by the same rules. This does not always happen, so intervention sometimes becomes necessary. Mediation is a valued skill in resolving these conflicts.
An area of enhanced concern is the proliferation of short-term vacation rentals, in which owners or tenants rent out their homes, or sometimes just rooms, to visitors for less than thirty consecutive days. This practice is expressly prohibited by city ordinance. We get calls almost daily from neighbors living near short-term rentals complaining about increased traffic, noise, high occupant turnover, and the overall disruption to their single-family neighborhoods. Various websites make it simple for people to solicit guests and the easy money tempts them. By the same token, it also makes it extremely easy for Code Enforcement to identify and prosecute those individuals. Penalties can be up to $2,500 for each day of violation. We have also seen tenants evicted from their homes when the property owners find out what has been taking place.
Friends have said that my job must be difficult. Indeed, it can be challenging at times. I have taken more abuse from people over sign issues than I ever did from the people I arrested for murder during my career in law enforcement! Nevertheless, Frank and I take our job very seriously and we enjoy helping our community and making a difference. If we can be of assistance, please call us at 928-282-1154.