Posted By – Dale Mathes, Code Enforcement Officer
Anyone who is a member of any large organization, be it the military, a bureaucracy, or a large corporation knows the acronym “S.O.P.” It stands for standard operating procedure.
Auburn Hills’ Code Enforcement Officers use a regular and consistent S.O.P. as well in dealing with violations of the City’s ordinances. Violations come to our attention either by complaints from citizens or City employees or are observed by the officers as part of their daily neighborhood rounds.
When a violation is confirmed, a written Violation Notice is mailed to the owner of the property outlining the problem, what the citizen can do to correct the situation and a timeline for doing so. Once the time line (usually 10 days) has elapsed, the officer rechecks the situation to see if there has been compliance.
If compliance is not met, generally, an additional Violation Notice is sent stressing the fact that a Municipal Civil Infraction Ticket could be issued if the problem is not taken care of. The vast majority of people do comply but in the rare instance that the notices are ignored, a ticket will be issued via certified mail. The ticket could be one with a fine only or could require an appearance at 52nd/3rd District Court. This usually depends on the severity of the violation and/or the citizen’s history of past violations.
This procedure of violation confirmation, violation advisement, re-checking twice, issuance of infraction and court adjudication can take up to six months or longer. Please be patient with Code Enforcement if you have filed a complaint. Our S.O.P. demands a step-by-step process to insure the rights of all. It’s based on State law and experience.
One thing to remember when making a complaint about a possible violation is that even though the title is “Officer,” Code Enforcement Officers have nowhere near the same powers as Police Officers. They are prohibited from entering any property without permission. All observations must be made from a public area, like the street or sidewalk. This can result in not being able to observe rear yards or other concealed locations.
Over the past few years, we have seen a steady decline in the number of violations issued by the City due to the fact that the vast majority of Auburn Hills’ citizens and businesses take pride in their property and neighborhoods. We hope that becomes everyone’s S.O.P.