We thank Denton Mayor Mark Burroughs and the Denton City Council for putting code enforcement discussions on the agenda at their recent retreat. It’s an issue that needs more discussion, review and guidance.
For several years now, it seems that the code enforcement staff is doing all they can to “take it” to Denton businesses and residents.
In most cases, the code enforcement notices are for things that are really minor and, in many cases, uncontrollable. The requests are unreasonable and that is evident by the growth in cases over the last six years from 3,000 to 14,000. Instead of wanting to work with businesses and residents, the code enforcement staff is more prideful that 98 percent of the cases were resolved.
As our downtown has grown over the years, we’ve unfortunately seen the remnants of graffiti artists’ unwanted work on local buildings. Instead of code enforcement personnel working with a Denton business and seeing how they can help, they’d rather send a demand letter with a fine if it’s not cleaned up in a short period of time. Some of the graffiti is difficult to remove from various surfaces.
Maybe a solution that code enforcement could help with is offering to find a way for businesses to be able to remove, or assist with the removal of the unwanted graffiti.
Then, we have the situation that Peggy Capps so aptly questions. Do we really need 4 inches of gravel and wood or pavestone edging in a driveway? That’s going a bit too far and Capps cites a great example of the enforcement on Bolivar Street.
This is where the problem is — code enforcement staff brags on what they’ve done and Capps points out that Bolivar is now full of gravel on sidewalks and the street.
We have no problem on the obvious citations and cleanup that needs to occur. Code enforcement cited the cleanup of 20,000 tires and some unsightly buildings as an accomplishment. We agree with much of that effort.
We have some strong suggestions, however.
Why doesn’t the code enforcement department do a better job of getting rid of unsightly dumped chairs and couches along major thoroughfares in our city? A business gets fined almost the next day for graffiti that has been applied to its building, yet a dumped couch or chair will sit for well over a week.
We strongly suggest that code enforcement refocus efforts on making the obvious cleanup requirements in Denton and, as Mayor Burroughs states, focus on the outcomes more than volumes.
We’d say code enforcement can work with the city to do a better job cleaning up our public right of ways, drainage ditches and parks. That alone will make Denton a much more aesthetically looking city.
And, finally, we think code enforcement should back off a bit from its stringent enforcement of sign ordinances for Denton’s small businesses — businesses that make up the fabric of what keeps this community growing.