Saturday, July 30, 2016
[Mendocino County] Point Arena City Council: No preferential treatment given to bypass code enforcement
The Point Arena City Council disagreed with a recent Mendocino County grand jury report that alleged city council members had been given preferential treatment to bypass code enforcement, which the jury claimed was essentially nonexistent in the city.
In the report, a city council member was alleged to have resided in an unpermitted structure with no sewer hookups, and another council member operated a biofuel business without a license, according to the grand jury. Both alleged offenders were unnamed in the report.
The grand jury also accused the city council of enforcing codes against members of the public, but when it came to employees of the city, code enforcement was apparently side-stepped.
In the city’s most recent response, it said no current members of the city council was violating the city code “at this time.”
Also, the response noted there has been no preferential treatment for council members related to code enforcement, and all council members are currently in compliance with local, state and federal laws.
When it comes to the grand jury’s claim of a lack of code enforcement system itself, the city council disagreed.
“The city has a public nuisance ordinance that provides an effective system for code enforcement that would address any and all health and safety risks posed to residents in the city,” the response stated.
The response goes on to say the city manager is responsible for responding to any related complaints, and if there is no contracted county code enforcement officer, to authorize a city staff member to investigate any alleged violations.
“The ordinance also provides for a procedure for adjudicating complaints that fulfills due process requirements,” the city council stated. “The city does not dispute that implementation of the ordinance would benefit from a trained code enforcement officer.”
The city council agreed with the grand jury’s recommendation to follow through in contracting with the county for code enforcement services. The city council apparently approved a contract with the county earlier this year to provide code enforcement services to the city. The city council, however, conceded in its response that the contract still hasn’t been signed. Understaffing in the county’s Planning and Building Services department, which provides code enforcement services, is apparently an issue, and it remains unclear what code enforcement services could be provided by the county to the city.
Point Arena doesn’t have its own code enforcement department, nor a current operating contract with an outside third-party to provide such services.
The full response from the Point Arena City Council, along with other grand jury reports, can be found at www.co.mendocino.ca.us/grandjury/gj15-16.htm.
July 15, 2016
Ukiah Daily Journal
By Ukiah Daily Journal staff