Dear Management Doctor:
How can I handle code enforcement in a rural county? Are there any interpretive guidelines that would help?
Caught between enforcement and property rights.
Code enforcement in rural communities is often a problem. Rural property owners are used to doing their own thing. Additionally, in rural areas there is often a strong property rights ethic. However, as areas urbanize, there is often a desire by new residents for more code enforcement.
It's essential that the Community develop a rational approach to code enforcement.
There is often pressure from elected officials for either more or less code enforcement, often depending on the specific case or the name of the person violating the code.
Sometimes problems in code enforcement come from the way staff handles cases. Good code enforcement people have good interpersonal skills and know how to use such skills in difficult situations.
Also, at times, code enforcement problems may be indicative of a need to change an ordinance. Code enforcement staff should always be alert to this possibility and forward up possible ordinance amendments prior to completing any enforcement actions.
We believe a variety of recommendations can address the enforcement issues.
The Community might consider various levels of enforcement for difficult parts of the Community, possibly distinguishing between rural and urban areas or enforcement types. Any different approaches should be approved by the elected officials.
The elected officials should affirm its approach to code enforcement. A typical affirmation we have used elsewhere is show below.
The Management Doctor