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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Code Enforcement becomes a ‘one stop shop’ in Community Development

Code Enforcement becomes a ‘one stop shop’ in Community Development

Addressing issues from dying landscaping at a business to snow unshoveled on sidewalks to how long garage sales can be, the city’s Code Enforcement staff keep citizens informed and within the guidelines established by the Westminster Municipal Code. However, since the mid-1990s, code enforcement staff have been separated into the Police Department and the Community Development (CD) Department. But as of Monday, March 18, all code enforcement staff were combined into one 14 person Operations and Community Preservation (OCP) Division in CD and now reside at the former U.S. Bank building.

“CD and the Police Department met many times to create a ‘no wrong door’ model for code enforcement, since citizens may not know which part of code enforcement to contact when issues arise,” said Operations and Community Preservation Manager Aric Otzelberger. “By centralizing code enforcement, we can improve the utilization of our code officers and allow the Police Department to enforce the law and do what they do best.”

The PD code enforcement staff of four officers, Technician Karla Brunick and Supervisor Joy Tallarico Hunt join CD Code Enforcement Officer Harvey Morris in the new OCP Division along with eight CD operational employees.

“We previously had only one part-time employee to handle land use code issues for the entire city. The consolidated team will provide for more responsive and thorough services in response to these issues,” said Otzelberger. “With over 900 Official Development Plans in the city, this essentially creates over 900 different areas to regulate going forward.”

When code enforcement was split, there also could be confusion about who should be enforcing which parts of the code.

“Officers would go out to a site due to a complaint about tall weeds, but they would encounter other issues like zoning, which was covered by CD,” said Hunt. “The Police Department became more involved in land issues and other civilian-based code violations.”

Now, the Police Department will respond to on-street parking code enforcement issues such as expired plates, abandoned or inoperable vehicles. Citizens with complaints can call the non-emergency dispatch number 303-658-4360.

The new OCP division had several half day workshops to build team camaraderie and work together to figure out what they’re about and where they can go. Their goal is to become more proactive and less reactionary, so small issues don’t become larger ones.

The OCP division is expected to be at the former U.S. Bank building through the end 2019/beginning of 2020 while the CD work space gets reconfigured.

“We’ve got a great team of people and they’ll do an amazing job upholding our SPIRIT values and enforcing our city’s municipal code,” said Otzelberger.

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