College Area residents are calling on the city to hire a full-time code-enforcement officer to patrol neighborhoods for violations. Examples of some types of code violations rampant around San Diego State University include houses with more than five occupants, parking violations, old furniture used for outside seating, and trash.
The need for a dedicated code-enforcement office in the College Area is not a new request. In previous years, saddled by a structural budget deficit, the city council slashed budgets in many departments, including code enforcement. To help pick up the slack, residents and the city created a volunteer code-enforcement program. To date, volunteers continue to conduct enforcement sweeps. After spotting potential violations, the group contacts the property owners and urges them to enter into compliance.
According to the College Area Community Council's website, "The program has so far proved effective in decreasing problems such as parking on lawns, outdoor storage, and poor maintenance, and has resulted in substantial improvements in the appearance of some streets in the College Area. Further improvements are expected."
But the volunteers can only do so much. Now residents says it’s time for the city to step up.
"As one example of the huge backlog at [Code Enforcement Services], a [code enforcement] volunteer group has identified 250 code violations visible from the street in the College Area," reads the petition. "The volunteers send two informational letters asking that the violation be corrected. If the violation continues after the [second] letter [code enforcement] investigates and assesses a fine. [Code enforcement] can only investigate five cases a month although already 70 properties have been sent a [second] letter and half of those have been referred...due to continuing violations."
As of May 6, 459 residents signed a petition to present to councilmembers for consideration while drafting this year's budget.