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Code Enforcement in Jeopardy as Blight Increases

Funding for code enforcement will be significantly reduced next year.

Since the recession hit, Glendora has seen more dying lawns, overgrown yards, unmaintained businesses and foreclosed homes. Blight in Glendora, said Glendora Police Chief Rob Castro, is growing.

But as blight becomes more of problem, the city’s code enforcement division, which monitors cases of city code violations, may be in jeopardy.

Three code enforcement officers were partially funded through the now defunct redevelopment agency. With redevelopment now officially disbanded, Castro said code enforcement may be drastically reduced the following year.

One code enforcement officer was funded through the CDBG grant, a funding source that is expected to be significantly reduced the following year.

Each code enforcement officer focuses on a specific area of the city. One officer oversees the Route 66 corridor, while another focuses on Arrow Highway.

Code enforcement officers will deal with an array of code compliances cases such as unpermitted business banners or illegal signs. Each code enforcement officer currently takes on about 325 cases a year.

But lately, officers have been concentrating their efforts on landscaping issues in both residential and commercial areas.

Castro said maintenance of shopping centers and homes is starting to decline as more landowners and residents can’t keep up with landscaping costs.

“It’s not fair for the other property owners in the neighborhood to maintain their yards in the level that the community expects, but have one or two property owners let their property go,” said Castro.

Last year, code enforcement officers cited 31 residents and landowners for landscaping issues.

Castro said the department will often times host a neighborhood cleanup and enlist the help of church groups, boy scouts and other community volunteers to help residents maintain their yards.

But foreclosed homes is also adding to the visible blight in the city, said Castro.

One part-time code enforcement officer focuses on monitoring foreclosed homes and making sure the properties are maintained. Often times, the overgrown weeds and plants and neglected swimming pools of foreclosed homes will create safety hazards and force the city to clean up the yards. Last year, the city dealt with 28 foreclosed homes.

“We’re trying to get a handle on this so it’s not becoming the norm,” said Castro.

“By removing it, we won’t let it take hold.”

Not only is blight an aesthetic problem, blighted conditions may invite more crime into the area, said Castro.

 But with a reduced staff, regulating the growing amount of code violations will be far more difficult.

 “We try to maintain what a majority of our community wants,” said Castro. “They want a community where they feel secure and they feel safe,” said Castro. “They want their community to have an appearance of a safe community.”

Mike n Teri February 18, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Good point Eric (Firefighters are county employees); I am very pro-police. I was unaware that the code enforcement employees were cleaning up a blighted yards. However, if the employee is enforcing criminal code, the professional police officer should be able to address this. I suppose we're back to resource allocation. I am not willing to cut police, fire, code, library, arts, school or all the other departments. If the income has been managed properly, then there is a need for more income.
Gary Donahue February 18, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Mike n Teri: I'm not going to pretend to be an expert on the Glendora budget, but a quick glance leaves me wondering why we need to pay for 1,500 hours of Adult Literacy Tutoring and why we need two "assistant bus stop cleaners." Do you think code enforcement is the only area that can sustain cuts?
Ian February 19, 2012 at 04:00 AM
http://lgcr.sco.ca.gov/CompensationDetail.aspx?entity=City&id=11981933400&year=2010&GetCsu=False All anyone has to do is look at the budget (granted this was 2010) for Glendora to determine where the cuts should be. You want to cut Code Enforcement? OK, then the Sports Turf Specialist (Community Services Dept) who made $64,452 in 2010 had better be eliminated. Aside from the plethora of part time positions, why does the Community Services Dept need: Recreation Superintendant at $90K; Recreations Supervisor at $75K; Community Services Director at $133K; Contracts Analyst at $70K; Landscape Contracts Manager at $77K; Human Services Superintendant at $76K; Parks Supervisor at $55K; Parks Manager at $43K; and three Senior Office Assistants who together pulled in $100K. ....and we have to make cuts to Code Enforcement. Wow. Just.... wow.
Sparks February 19, 2012 at 08:53 AM
I think a lot of our community problems stems partially from prop 13 keeping homeowners and commercial property owners located in properties they really can't afford to maintain-especially with water going up like it has and will in the future. Eventually it will come down to everyone pulling their own weight-money wise. The continued building of high density housing will help which will allow the homeowners to sell and move into smaller dwellings and yet still stay in the area.
Ian February 19, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Sparks, my friend, I gotta disagree with you 100%. Prop 13 enabled homeowners to stay in their houses and not be property-taxed out of them. If Prop 13 had not been enacted, one can only imagine how many department Superintendants, Directors, Managers, Supervisors, Leaders, Associate Leaders, Assistants, Assistant IIs, and hundreds of paid part-time positions (ad nauseum) we'd have in all departments of city gov't. Don't get me started on high density housing. Packing and stacking hundreds of families into a space that should house four families is a bad, bad, bad idea. I am shocked and appalled that we are even considering stacking over 50 families into the space south of the Post Office.

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