Tampa code enforcement toughens up

02/21/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday | Listen to this entire show:

The Tampa City Council today approved an ordinance that will enforce stricter penalties for property owners who trash their neighborhoods.

Those who commit serious “irreversible violations" would be immediately ticketed and fined, according to the ordinance.

Assistant City Attorney Ernest Mueller said such offenses would be broken into four classes.

People with less serious violations, such as trash in their yards and overgrown grass, would be given a chance to clean things up. Repeat offenders would be ticketed and fined.

Several neighborhood association members from Seminole Heights applauded the changes. Among them was Gary Ellsworth, president of the South Seminole Heights Civic Association.

The new provision aloo cites tenants who trash their apartment or rental homes. Previously only landowners faced penalties. Property owners said they had issues with the changes, as articulated by Mike Peterson, Government Affairs Council director for the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors.

Andy Joe Scaglione also had issues with a property management company being responsible for each property it owns.

Assistant City Attorney Ernest Mueller said if it’s not a repeat violation or irreparable, landlords would have 21 days to correct the problem.

City Councilman John Dinfelder asked Mueller if the new provision was being unfair to partnerships that own several buildings.

Mueller said that overall he thinks the new system works fairly for all.

City Councilwoman Mary Mulhern said she though it was fair.

The Council will have its first reading on the new code enforcement ordinance on March 6.

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