Code enforcement officers in Clearwater are stepping up enforcement. They’re going door to door writing violations in an effort to clean up neighborhoods.
Walking through the Downtown Gateway area, code enforcement officer Shelby Brown is quick to point out the good.
“Great landscaping, no paint chipping, no expired tags on vehicles. These property owners are doing a great job!,” she explained.
She also pointed out the bad.
“Overgrown grass, no grass, green pools, abandoned vehicles. This property need a little closer attention.”
Some properties were busted Friday for the obvious. Others for the unexpected like tree branches hanging over the sidewalk, cars parked on the grass, parking lots without striping and unfinished paint jobs.
Michael Hope noticed a bunch of violations down his street.
“Some of the codes are a little excessive, in my opinion. But you've got to pick your battles."
While Clearwater's code compliance officers may not always be popular, most people acknowledge they’re making a difference.
Carole Rosefelt is happy to see the officers in action.
“Things have to change. They have to be taken care of.”
All the junk around her art shop brings her down, “it’s undermining to our morale, it really is.”
Within a few blocks of her store, code enforcement officers wrote hundreds of citations for homes and businesses along Missouri Avenue, Highland Avenue, Drew Street and Court Street.
Code compliance officers plan to target other neighborhoods in the city needing repairs too.
“We've got to get everybody up to at least the minimum. The minimum standards are what keep things safe, they improve property values and you don’t lose ground that way,” Brown explained.
Homeowners and landlords get up to 10 days to fix nuisance violations like trash, overgrown lawns and vehicles with expired tags. They're given 30 days to fix minor problems like peeling paint and poorly maintained fences. Yet, the city says they’re willing to work with everyone. In some cases, they’ll even pay for the improvements for low income families.
“I live and work here in Clearwater too and I want it to be safe. More so, I want it to be safe for you and your family,” Brown added.
Rosefelt agreed, “We can’t let our city go down the drain.”
Any homeowners with questions about violations can call the Code Compliance Division at 727-562-4720.