Top Six Myths about Code Enforcement

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Citizens can help Lewisville maintain a clean and desirable appearance by keeping your own property in good condition, and by reporting suspected code or building violations either by phone 972.219.3480, online at cityoflewisville.com or through the free "MyLewisvilleTX" mobile application.

 

Top six myths about code and building enforcement in Lewisville
1. Code officers only respond to complaints, they do not actively patrol.
The city is divided into eight code enforcement districts and four building inspector districts, with one officer assigned to each district. Code officers do spend time investigating complaints that have been received by the city, but about 96 percent of their time during an average weeks is spent patrolling commercial and residential districts to look for potential code violations. Building inspectors have about the same ratio of complaints to active patrol.
2. Code officers only work 8-5, M-F, so violations are fair game on evenings and weekends. While it is uncommon for code officers and building inspectors to work after sundown because violations are difficult to spot in the dark, they do regularly work evening hours and there is at least one code officer on duty every weekend. In fact, Saturday can be a very busy day for roadside sign violations, construction work without a permit, and other
issues.
3. Code officers give as many tickets as possible to raise money for the city. Lewisville’s code enforcement and building inspections programs is geared toward voluntary compliance. In other words, every reasonable effort is made to correct a violation before a citation is issued. The first contact is almost always a notification letter or door-hanger to let a property owner know about an existing violation, set a reasonable timeline for compliance, and give contact information in case the owner disagrees with or does not understand the notice. Revenue received from code citations falls far short of paying for the code officers and building inspectors, and there is no quota set for number of citations issued or amount of citation money collected.
4. Code officers pick and choose the complaints they investigate. Every complaint received by the city is personally investigated by a code officer or building inspector. That might be as simple as driving past a location to view the site, or it might involve contacting the owner of the property where a violation is thought to exist. A record is kept of all complaints received, and the outcome of the investigation, in order to ensure that no complaints are overlooked.
5. Code officers ignore code violations by some people or in some areas of the city. Code officers and building inspectors are expected to treat all property owners in the same professional and consistent manner. Notification letters are given to residents and businesses in all parts of the city – including city employees and elected officials when violations were identified. Older areas of the city present greater challenges because of “grandfathering” situations related to older structures and land use or zoning, but all violations are treated equally by code officers.
6. Nothing happens when a code violation is reported to the city. While this statement is false, it is fair to say that sometimes a person might not see any results from a complaint that is filed. There can be a variety of reasons for that. If a violation is identified, the property owner is given a reasonable amount of time to correct it; this can take a week or longer, depending up on the corrective measures needed, but is an important element of Lewisville’s emphasis on voluntary compliance. In some cases, a complaint turns out not to be an actual violation of code, either because it is allowed under current rules or because it was allowed under code in place when the structure was built. This latter example is called “legal non-conforming” and means a specific situation is “grandfathered” and can remain in violation of current code until certain criteria are met such as a site remodel, reconstruction or vacancy of six months or longer.