Code enforcement warns about property maintenance and fire hazards

Community Enhancement Officers Kelly McCarthy addresses the Beaumont-Cherry Valley Rotary Club about nuisance, weed abatement, abandoned vehicles and public safety.

Community Enhancement Officers Kelly McCarthy and Jack Huntsman spoke to the Beaumont-Cherry Valley Rotary Club in September about the work they do in the community to keep it looking its best at all times.

The department, formerly known as Code Enforcement, is responsible for nuisance, weed abatement, abandoned vehicles and public safety.

McCarthy said that Beaumont encompasses 36 square miles and has 800 vacant lots.

The fire season in Beaumont does not end because there has been a lot of rain and growth, McCarthy said

She encouraged residents to call community enhancement if they see property that looks really bad. McCarthy said their division has to oversee property maintenance.

The department also is there for life safety, which is first and foremost, McCarthy said.

One of the concerns is when people build onto existing homes and a fire hazard may occur, resulting in the burning of that property.

Residents also can convert a garage into living space, but McCarthy said people should really think this one over.

“A garage isn’t made to be lived in,” she said.

Community Services Director Elizabeth Gibbs said that community enhancement is funded through the General Fund.

Thirteen years ago, there were four full-time code enforcement officers and one full-time secretary.

“I was hardly in the office,” McCarthy said.

The department only had two code enforcement vehicles several years ago.

The office had no air conditioning and heater.

“Weed abatement was a full-time job,’’ McCarthy said.

The fire department used to do weed abatement.. McCarthy said even now, she has to have written permission to enforce something.

“We only enforce what’s in the municipal code,” Huntsman said.

If residents do not like what is going on at city hall, then they need to gather at city hall and get something done.

Neighborhoods with home owners associations are considered gated communities so community enhancement cannot enforce anything on those properties.

McCarthy and Huntsman said that they may be public streets, but the homeowners associations rule in those areas.

McCarthy said that weed abatement violations have to be cleaned up in 15 to 20 days.

If it is considered a fire hazard, then it is 10 days to do weed abatement.

Abandoned vehicles parked on the street must be moved in 72 hours if given a violation, McCarthy said.

Staff writer Julie Farren may be reached at jfarren@recordgazette.net.

Staff Writer Julie Farren may be reached at jfarren@recordgazette.net.

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