Neighborhoods Safer Through Code Compliance Efforts
By Office of Communication
Posted on July 13, 2013, July 13, 2013

Keeping Arlington clean and well-tended is a process that takes all residents, say those who travel the City each day working with homeowners on maintaining their property and keeping neighborhoods looking their best.

Code Compliance Services ensures that minimum standards of property preservation- which are designed to protect the health and welfare of residents- are met.

Some of the most common code enforcement violations that officers encounter include tall weeds and grass, overhanging tree limbs, large junked items, inoperable vehicles in public view or working vehicles parked on the grass, unclean premises and overflowing dumpsters, graffiti, dilapidated fences or trash put out too early.

Allowing such conditions to persist, said Field Operations Manager Michael Thomas, allows the condition of neighborhoods to deteriorate. He said officers work constantly to educate residents about aspects of their home' s appearance that violate codes.

When they can, code compliance officers concentrate on one particular area to stage a sweep that can make a major impact on the safety and appearance of a neighborhood.

Recently, East District officers worked with the residents of around 750 homes included in a zone north of Pioneer Parkway, south of Park Row Drive, east of Collins Street and west of New York Avenue.

Thomas said officers initially benchmarked the area looking for trouble spots then issued warning citations to residents about any problems. Thomas said officers found more than 25 different types of code violations in the area.

But during the two-week period that officers worked there, they were rewarded with an 85 percent compliance rate.

"Residents voluntarily made the improvements," he said. "When you work to educate people, they learn about these rules. People don' t always want to call in complaints."

Thomas described the area where officers focused as a mix of old and new families who may not know about the City' s codes. He said the area contained smaller homes, many with one-car driveways which contributed to a problem of vehicles parked in yards.

"These homes were built 50-60 years ago when having only one car was more common," Thomas said.

According to City code, vehicles must be parked on a concrete or asphalt surface if the vehicle is parked in the front or side yard of a property-including cars, boats and recreational vehicles.

Other common rule violations included outdoor debris and low-hanging tree limbs.

City code states that properties should be kept free of unsightly accumulated litter, garbage or junk that can become unsanitary or offensive.

Overhanging tree limbs must be no less than 14 feet above the street and branches or other vegetation over a sidewalk may be no less than seven feet above the sidewalk. These rules allow for passage of fire department vehicles.

Thomas said that residents should keep an eye on their neighborhoods and stay on the look-out for common violations like overgrown grass (over 12 inches) or piled-up debris.

"It' s about being a good neighbor," he said.

For code violation reports or questions contact 817-459-6777.


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