The Daytona Beach Code Enforcement team provided a detailed overview for about 90 minutes April 20 of work performed during the first quarter of this year, much of it with aid from Daytona Beach Police.
Outside at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Daytona Beach, refreshments were also provided.
Daytona Beach Police Capt. Scott Lee is the District 2 Commander, Operations Bureau.
He oversees Neighborhood Services, which he stated is a combination of law enforcement and civilian functions. On the civilian side exists code enforcement and the rental program. Denzil Sykes is the Neighborhood Services Manager. Mark Jones oversees the Code Enforcement Team.
Capt. Lee provided a first quarter overview while also introducing each code enforcement inspector who in turn gave a report on their assigned area of the city.
He said using both law enforcement and civilian components is a “pretty good pairing and we’re able to effectively address certain issues that have been plaguing some of the neighborhoods. We had a lot of success during 2020 dealing with houses that had irresponsible ownership, or sometimes it’s just landlords that were renting to a tenant who was just managing the property irresponsibly, letting a lot of people live in there, drug usage, a lot of stolen property, things like that. “
The Code Enforcement Team opened 896 cases citywide in the first quarter compared to 1,260 from the first quarter in 2020. The majority (448) were maintenance code violations, which covers a wide variety of offenses, such as repainting needed or roof repair. Another 100 were parking. The third biggest category (85) was work being done without a permit. Field generated cases (observed by inspectors themselves) totaled 542 or 60.5%. Complaint driven cases numbered 354 or 39.5%. The team closed 922 cases during the quarter, but some were carryovers from the previous year. And some simpler cases were both opened and closed in the quarter.
Rental inspections cases comprise a separate program known as the Residential Rental Inspection Program. The program is designed to identify blighted, deteriorated and substandard rental housing and ensure the rehabilitation or elimination of such housing that does not meet minimum standards. The standards not only address life, health and safety issues, but also the results of deferred or inadequate maintenance. The Rental Inspection Program requires property owners register their rental properties and each rental property pass an inspection on a biennial basis. During special events, inspectors are especially looking for violations, such as too many vehicles in a yard, etc.
Capt. Lee said inspectors are pressing really hard to clean up their reports and get ones that have lingered under control and closed. There is an entire process associated with a notice of a violation, which may ultimately result in coming before a magistrate or a code board. The worst scenario for a property owner are fines. Cases can also be deemed unfounded that are not code violations, but are simply “annoying.”
He stressed a current focus is on vacant lots.
“We are actively trying to address vacant lots because we’re having a lot of problems and we had a lot of problems in the past,” Capt. Lee said. “As we move into summer, we want to be able to rapidly address some of these vacant lots that we know we’re going to have issues with once the growing season really gets going here, which is pretty much upon us. We’ve taken Inspector Dan Garcia out of the regular code enforcement assignment and we’ve put him into a vacant lot assignment.”
Other violations include abandoned buildings, dangerous structures on premises, dorm living, fire damage, graffiti, junk vehicles, lot clearance, noise complaints, occupational licenses, outside storage, rental inspection, sign violations, special events, structures unfit for human occupancy, trash pickup, unsafe structure, or vehicle or zoning issues.
There are several special projects. One is Operation Noble Cause where houses are observed to have too many occupants; or drugs are seen in the house along with overdoses, stolen property, and a lot of traffic or junk accumulating in the yard.
A CodeStat meeting is the first Wednesday of every month at 8:30 a.m. inside the second-floor meeting room at Police Headquarters, 129 Valor Blvd. The next quarterly CodeStat meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. July 20 at Bethune-Cookman University.
Code enforcement complaints can be made 24 hours a day at (386) 271-2633 or codb.us/188/code-enforcement.