A neighbor of mine has been plagued for years by an adjoining AirBnB (aka “transient,” or less than 30-day) rental, which has now turned into an interminable demolition/remodel nuisance.
He has carefully documented many of the zoning code violations, and contacted the city dozens of times at all levels from code enforcement (which is where these things should start AND end), to the police department (one officer told him that HE would be arrested for bothering them if he didn’t quit calling), to neighborhood services management, to the city manager, the city council, and the mayor. My neighbor has wasted hundreds of hours of his time simply trying to achieve peaceful enjoyment of his own home, which is (or should be) a fundamental goal of the zoning code.
AirBnB oversight is a primary function of Code Enforcement, as they are charged with maintaining the City’s Rental Registration list for short-term rentals.
My own experiences with code enforcement have been similarly frustrating (but thankfully not as severe), and I’ve heard complaints from others across the city. It seems that if the inspectors don’t like you, your property will be the first to be cited; yet you’ll be the last to get any meaningful response if you file a complaint.
My neighbor just brought to my attention a scathing audit of Code Enforcement Operations, the “highlights” of which I’ve copied below. What it boils down to, in my humble opinion, is that Code Enforcement is a good place for city staff toadies to go to retire-on-the-job, and do whatever (and as little) as they want.
I hope the mayor and council will finally sit up and take notice, especially given that they are empaneling a special group to look into transient rental issues.
City staffers Randy Grant and Raun Keagy are listed on the report as “responsible parties” for purposes of the listed corrective actions. Randy is the “Planning, Economic Development & Tourism Executive Director.” Raun is the “Neighborhood Services Director.”
Code Enforcement Operations, Audit No. 2108
By Sharron Walker, city auditor, 480-312-7867
February 24, 2021
This audit was conducted to assess the management controls and operations of the City’s code enforcement program.
The program’s performance measures were not effectively designed to evaluate whether violations are appropriately and timely resolved. Inspector activity levels were not managed effectively, with activities varying greatly and some accounting for substantially fewer than the scheduled work hours. Yet, the program staff collects signs in the right-of-way on weekend overtime rather than during normal business hours. Supervisors did not follow consistent methods to manage these activities. Updated policies and procedures and regular staff meetings could standardize direction provided to staff and adding GPS to their city vehicles would aid in supervisory review and inspector safety.
Code Enforcement has a high management and administrative staff to field staff ratio. The program has more supervisory staff than similar City inspection programs have. Also, as staff retire, institutional knowledge may be lost due to specialization and lack of documentation. However, the program hasn’t taken steps to ensure a smooth transition of institutional knowledge and continuity of service.
The program also can improve its receivables management, system access and calculation of performance measures.
Even after the Audit of Code Enforcement, the house next door has had an open code complaint for Blight since Feb 12th???
And they are not the only ones in our subdivision.