Friday, October 24, 2014
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Right-Of-Way- Code Enforcement Responsibilities

Code Enforcement Responsibilities

 

Our right of way personnel respond to a significant number of citizen complaints, citing a broad spectrum of City ordinances in their enforcement efforts.  If you are having a problem that you believe might be some sort of code violation and you don't know what City department to call, call the Right of Way Department at (260) 427-1172 or email to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Chances are very good that we will either be able to help you directly or be able to refer you to the correct department that can lend assistance.

Following are some typical type of complaints and problems that are addressed by the Right of Way Department:

Vegetation overhanging the sidewalk or alley, interfering with free vehicular or pedestrian passage.  This is one of the more common complaints received every summer.  Typically, a notice is left at the property in question, requesting that the offending vegetation be cut back to the property line.  The particular code citation is very broad and has many applications, and basically makes it illegal for anyone to place anything or allow anything to obstruct the free passage or block the use of any rights of way by anyone.  We will be investigating the possibility of utilizing community corrections crews to clear encroaching vegetation along alleys in certain cases, where appropriate and feasible.  See Municipal Code 99.020.

Mud and or dirt being tracked onto the street.  This problem typically arises from construction vehicles leaving a building site.  The inspector tries to determine the source of the mud and then contacts the party responsible and asks that the street be cleaned.  If a determination of responsibility can not be made, the Street Department can be contacted for street sweeping.  Problems with blowing dirt and dust arising from construction sites can also be addressed.  See Municipal Code 99.001.

 Vehicle parks in the same spot and continually leaks oil on the street.  It is illegal to discharge any substances onto the street that will damage the street pavement.  Gasoline and oil tends to break down asphalt, aside from being very messy.  See Municipal Code 99.005.

Basketball hoop installed at the end of a cul-de-sac and the activity it attracts keeps people awake at night.  City Code makes it unlawful to engage in any sports or other games upon the streets or sidewalks, to the annoyance of travelers or residents thereon.  The enforcement officer will try to determine who placed the pole and backboard and require that it be removed or relocated to private property.  See Municipal Code 99.008.

Placing signs between the property line and the curb line.  These type of violations are so numerous that we usually respond only on a complaint basis or if the sign causes a safety hazard.  Most complaints usually are in regards to temporary garage sale signs and political signs that have not been removed even though the event advertised has long since ended.  Realty signs can also sometimes cause problems and complaints.  Of primary concern are signs posted at intersections that can obstruct a driver's view of approaching traffic.  See Municipal Code 99.024.

Vehicle parked across sidewalk.  This is considered an obstruction by the Right of Way Department.  Alternatively, this is an offense for which Parking Control or the Police Department can immediately write a ticket.  See Municipal Code 99.020.

Driving across curb and/or sidewalk.  Unless an access permit is obtained and an approach constructed to City standards, this is strictly prohibited. See Municipal Code 71.52.

Downspouts or drainage pipes that discharge onto the sidewalk, causing the walk to become slick and unsightly.  This type of problem is considered an obstruction in the sense that it causes free passage on the sidewalk to become hazardous.  See Municipal Code 99.020.

The parkstrip, i.e., the area between the curb and sidewalk, was excavated and has not been restored.  At certain times of the year, restoration may not occur for a few months since grass seed won't properly germinate except in the spring and fall. After restoring a cut, utility companies seldom water the grass seed.  As a practical matter, we would encourage the property owner to water the grass seed to help insure that the seed germinates and grows. The bottom line though is that the permit applicant is responsible to make sure that the grass does eventually grow.  See Municipal Code 99.030, Municipal Code 99.031 (D).

A street excavation was made and has not been restored.  A street cut has been restored but is uneven or has sunk.  An Inspector will determine the responsible party and insure that an adequate restoration is completed.  Sometimes a temporary restoration is confused for a permanent pavement restoration.  During the cold months of the year, paving is not possible so a cold asphalt mix is applied to the cut until such time that the permanent restoration can be completed. See Municipal Code 99.030, Municipal Code 99.031 (D).

A neighbor's culvert has collapsed and won't let the area in front of an adjoining property drain properly.  This type of a problem can also be considered an obstruction.  As an aside, our Street Department will install a culvert for no charge if the property owner is willing to purchase the culvert pipe.  See Municipal Code 99.020.

A neighbor has restricted proper drainage by placing drain tile and filling in the ditch.  This again is considered an obstruction.  Although blind ditching is discouraged, permission can be obtained to do so by applying for a permit.  City Utilities personnel will determine a minimum sized pipe that can then be purchased and installed by the property owner.  See Municipal Code 99.020.

A business has plowed snow from their parking lot out into the street or on the sidewalk.  See Municipal Code 72.81.

Public sidewalks have not been shoveled after a reasonable amount of time has passed since the snowfall.  See Municipal Code 99.047.