New code enforcement beginning tomorrow

NOW: New code enforcement beginning tomorrow

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- Abandoned vans like this one can be found all around St. Joseph County. They’ve been the stem of several complaints for county officials who decided to take matters into their own hands — launching a new code enforcement program starting Friday.

"I’ve seen this property for 20 years and it’s looked the same. It’s been the same. I see animals, verm, all kinds of stuff going on so now we finally have something in place to answer the complaints that the citizens have given to us," said Derek Dieter, County Commissioner.

Resident can file complaints online.

The county has hired two inspectors to manage the workload — which is already backlogged, with more than 200 complaints.

“A lot of trash. A lot of scrap and then also cut vegetation is definitely a thing. A lot of downed trees and even things that are you know safety hazards. Blocking the sight line of sight, right of way. There’s a lot of that especially when it comes to corners," said Steve Szaday, Code Enforcement Inspector.

If the complaint is about a real code violation, inspectors will first leave a courtesy hang tag — to inform the violator what needs to be corrected.

“That gives the homeowner an opportunity to contact one of the inspectors about to remediate the issue. If no response is received after the hang tag then we will proceed with a violation notice," said Abby Wiles, Executive Director Area Plan Commission.

At this point no fines will be issued, but if residents still ignore the notice the new team could abade the property.

County officials say the program is long overdue to ensure a cleaner environment for residents.

“You know you’re just cleaning up the county. You know it gives a better appearance for people coming in and driving through the county," said Robert Kruszynski, County Council.

You can file a code complaint here.

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