Yellow notices are popping up in yards all over Ardmore informing the occupant that their property is in violation of one or more of the city’s codes. In addition to the violation, the sign also gives the resident a date by which the problem needs to be corrected. These notices are issued by the city’s code enforcement division, and Development Services Director Jessica Scott explained why code enforcement is so important to the city.
“Code enforcement is all about making our neighborhoods a safe and healthy place to live,” Scott said. “One of our major issues is tall grass and overgrown yards. Not only is this unsightly, it also becomes a haven for mosquitoes, bugs and snakes.”
Mosquitoes also factor heavily into the reasoning behind another common notice concerning homes where swimming pools have not been properly maintained. “One green pool in your neighborhood and it
becomes a breeding-zone for mosquitoes,” Scott said.
Another frequent violation deals with tree limbs that hang too close to the street. In addition to possibly preventing the trash truck from picking up garbage, these low-hanging limbs can also damage school bus windows and even knock the lights off of fire trucks.
“If you do get a notice in your yard, you’ll also receive a letter in the mail,” Scott said. “If you have any questions at all just give us a call. We can also provide you with an extension if you need more time. We really try to work with people.” She then explained the consequences that occur when people choose to ignore the notices and the city has to take care of the problem.
“The worst thing to do is ignore the notice,” Scott said. “If you ignore it, the city will put it out to bid and hire a contractor to come out and do the work.”
The city then sends out a bill that includes the cost of the labor along with a $100 administration fee.
“If you don’t pay the bill, then we’ll put a lien on the property, and it’s going to show up on your taxes,” she said.
She went on to say that all of this can be avoided by simply communicating with Development Services.
“Just pick up the phone and give us a call, come into the office, or send me an email to ask for an extension,” she said. “We’re going to work with you as best as we can.”
The process of calling, stopping by the office, or sending an email can also apply when a citizen wants to report a violation. Scott explained that the department works primarily off of complaints because they do not have the time or the staff to drive the streets looking for violations.
“Our policy is to have someone out to the site within 24 hours of receiving any complaints,” Scott said. “If there’s not a violation, we’ll take a picture to show that, and then we close the case. If there is a violation, then we do our jobs.”
The 24-hour policy is something new for the city, and it comes from the new software program the city implemented last September. The software allows code enforcers to work from tablets while in the field and this allows the entire process to go more quickly.
“I’m really hoping that the new city works software will have public access in the future,” Scott said. “Then people can log on, put in their case number, and find out more information about their case.”
The software could also be used to ask for an extension or log a new complaint.
In the meantime, anyone can reach out to the Department of Development Services by calling 580-223-3477 and Jessica Scott can be reached via email at jscott@ardmorecity.org.