Code Enforcement Stepping Up in Calera

The following is a news release from the City of Calera

The City of Calera has very specific City ordinances on how a homeowner should maintain/keep up their property within the City limits. Effective April 1, 2006 the Calera Police Department will begin notifying homeowners/business owners and landowners of any ordinances to which they are not in compliance. The owner will be given a time frame in which to make changes and if that request is not acted upon, a citation will be issued by the Police Department. These ordinances have always been in place but have really not been strictly enforced. This has resulted in owners becoming lax in the way their property looks and has become an eyesore to neighbors or visitors to the community.

Initially the property owner will be given the opportunity to clean it up or pay for clean up and any other fees associated with that. Next there will also be the fee for a citation if the owner refuses to comply with the city ordinance(s) within the appropriate time frame.

The City Council stated it is certainly not the city’s intent to harass the citizens of Calera but to assist in cleaning up some areas of this nice community. Not a month goes by that a complaint is not made at City Hall that someone needs to clean up their yard, as it’s hazardous to children playing or it is of concern to the neighboring homeowners. Enforcing the city ordinances currently in place will allow the homeowner/landowner time to clean up, or the opportunity to pay the city to do it for them.

Previous complaints made to City Hall included burned out or abandoned homes left in dangerous conditions, household appliances discarded in yards, lawns left unattended so that the grass is taller than the roof, vehicles on blocks unattended beyond the tag expiration with no intent of ever being driven again, just to name a few.

Some of the City Ordinances (not an all inclusive listing) prohibit citizens from:

· Keeping, storing or accumulating rubbish, including newspapers (all properties should be free from any accumulation of rubbish or garbage-rubbish should be in approved containers for pick-up/disposal), abandoned vehicles (no inoperative vehicle or unlicensed motor vehicle should be parked and no vehicle shall be in a state of major disassembly, disrepair or in the process of being stripped or dismantled), household appliances (i.e. refrigerators, washers or dryers), furniture, tires for a long period of time without discarding properly or storing in a storage facility/building.
· Maintaining premises in a manner that is unfit for human occupancy or property that creates an unsanitary condition likely to attract or harbor mosquitoes, rodents, vermin or other disease-carrying pests, or because the location of the structure constitutes a hazard to the occupants of the structure or to the public. All plumbing fixtures shall be properly connected to public sewer or to an approved private sewage system and free from obstructions leaks and defects.
· Allowing weeds to grow on premises. Weeds include but not limited to poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac and all vegetation at any state of maturity, which exceeds 12 inches in height. (Exception-healthy trees, shrubs or produce) This would constitute a fire or traffic hazard, as well as harbor rodents.

· Maintaining a building/structure in a manner that is structurally unsafe or constitutes a hazard to safety, health or public welfare because of inadequate maintenance, unsanitary conditions, dilapidation, obsolescence, disaster, damage abandonment or because it constitutes a fire hazard. Property of this type would be damaged, decayed, dilapidated, and structurally unsafe from faulty construction or unstable foundations, that partial or complete collapse.
· Abandoned, unoccupied or vacant property that falls under the above mentioned situations. The owner is responsible not to allow this type property to become an attractive nuisance.

The city of Calera offers a special trash pick up to the residents to help with some of these issues. Residents can take unusual items to their normal trash pick up locations for special pick-up. There will be an additional charge of $35.00 for large items and that charge will be placed on their next month utility bill. This will allow homeowners to keep their property clean and follow the city ordinances.

The Calera City Council is hoping that everyone will take the initiative to do clean up on his or her own and look forward to seeing improvements all over the town in the next few weeks! We want everyone here to see the beauty in Calera and enjoy residing in a nice clean community.