On Monday, we wrote about a neighborhood on San Marin Drive that was terrorized by a drug house, a place where visitors would come and go day and night, dogs barked at all hours and trash piled up around the property. In the story, one of the neighbors criticized the city of Novato’s code enforcement, saying it should have done more to clean up the blight.
Now code enforcement has responded to the criticism, echoing what the police department has already said.
“Unfortunately, if a home is owner-occupied, Code Enforcement cannot require the owner to clean the inside of the home--however we can, and did, intervene regarding the outside of the property,” Gary Beretta, supervising code enforcement supervisor told Novato Patch.
“In 2009, after the first complaint, the resident did clean up by the front walk. And again in 2010. In 2010 a neighbor complained about trash and debris in the back/side yard. We took the appropriate action: attempted to contact the owner by mail and post the property. However, if the owner is in jail, and the banks have not started the foreclosure process, we are limited in what action we can take.
“Additionally, in 2010 the rear and side yard was cleaned up by a two member volunteer team... Due process may seem slow to the folks that lived next to the home, but we do have to follow the law. When we were made aware of electrical 'by-passes' and or electricity/gas were turned off due to non-payment, the property was posted with the appropriate placard. (LIMITED ENTRY, yellow, or NO ENTRY, red) Admittedly, if no one answers the door at these times, it may appear we are not doing anything. We also spoke with the Homeowner’s Association/CCR and were told there wasn't anything they could do either as there was no way to contact the owner.”What’s YOUR take? Have you ever had to deal with Novato’s Code Enforcement and how was your problem handled? Share your experience in the comments below.