New County Ordinance Allows for Code Enforcement Officers to Issue Citations, Fines; Bear City Property First to Be Cited in Third District

In January, San Bernardino County code enforcement officers issued their first administrative citation in the Third District, which includes the Big Bear Valley. The first citation was issued to a Big Bear City property owner using a single family residence as a rental property without the required short-term rental permit; the second citation was issued to a property owner in Landers, for inadequate water and sanitation at a rental property. According to a press release issued by Third District County Supervisor Neil Derry’s office, one of the most difficult aspects of enforcing county codes in the past was an inability to provide enough pressure on violators to compel them to abate the nuisance in a timely fashion. The process would involve numerous warnings and court time before the offenders would comply or county workers would be allowed to abate the nuisance. Collecting fines and fees was a lengthy process, and if a violator wanted to delay, they could refuse to pay until several years after a lien was placed on the property. County code enforcement officers now (as of an ordinance passed in late 2009) have the authority to issue administrative citations, so court trials can be bypassed, and fines can be issued; these fines begin at $100 for the first offense and escalate with each additional citation. The most powerful aspect of the administrative citations, as noted in the press release, is that violators can have their wages garnished, bank accounts seized and income tax refunds intercepted in order to recoup these penalties. “Our goal is to compel compliance,” Supervisor Derry says, “not to place an onerous financial burden on violators and turn them into revenue streams. But, we needed to put some real teeth into enforcement so that we can address these problem properties.”

In January, San Bernardino County code enforcement officers issued their first administrative citation in the Third District, which includes the Big Bear Valley. The first citation was issued to a Big Bear City property owner using a single family residence as a rental property without the required short-term rental permit; the second citation was issued to a property owner in Landers, for inadequate water and sanitation at a rental property. According to a press release issued by Third District County Supervisor Neil Derry’s office, one of the most difficult aspects of enforcing county codes in the past was an inability to provide enough pressure on violators to compel them to abate the nuisance in a timely fashion. The process would involve numerous warnings and court time before the offenders would comply or county workers would be allowed to abate the nuisance. Collecting fines and fees was a lengthy process, and if a violator wanted to delay, they could refuse to pay until several years after a lien was placed on the property. County code enforcement officers now (as of an ordinance passed in late 2009) have the authority to issue administrative citations, so court trials can be bypassed, and fines can be issued; these fines begin at $100 for the first offense and escalate with each additional citation. The most powerful aspect of the administrative citations, as noted in the press release, is that violators can have their wages garnished, bank accounts seized and income tax refunds intercepted in order to recoup these penalties. “Our goal is to compel compliance,” Supervisor Derry says, “not to place an onerous financial burden on violators and turn them into revenue streams. But, we needed to put some real teeth into enforcement so that we can address these problem properties.”

Related posts:

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  3. April 23 Code Enforcement Sweep Results in the Towing of 47 Vehicles, Boats and Trailers from Big Bear City