Missouri City amends code enforcement procedures

Missouri City code enforcement officers will have to provide personal notification of code violations instead of mailing them.

Missouri City code enforcement officers will have to provide personal notification of code violations instead of mailing them.

Missouri City will now require police officers and authorized staff to personally notify residents of code violations instead of sending notices through the mail. City Council unanimously approved a new ordinance and a resolution Oct. 17 detailing code violation procedures and fines for convictions.

Missouri City Police Department Support Services Capt. Paul Poulton said that prior to the change, residents were mailed a citation lacking specific details about the violation. As a result, no one showed up to court, he said.

“Now, code enforcement officers are going to be authorized to actually issue, like what police officers do — citations.”

The citations must be signed by the violator but before any citations are issued, however, code enforcement officers must issue a warning.

“This is not about trying to generate revenue for the city," Poulton said. "We want compliance, compliance and education.”

Fines vary based on the type of violation. For example, after a warning and conviction a person may be fined a minimum of $100 upon a first conviction of an environmental nuisance, $250 for a second conviction for the same violation in a year, and $500 for a third conviction of the same violation in a year.

Poulton said the most common violations are related to trash, tall grass, junked vehicles and low-hanging trees. Mayor Allen Owen said that stricter code enforcement procedures were something residents requested based on past community surveys.

“It relates to what our citizens wanted and it’s not to hammer people,” he said. “It’s to keep the property values up on the next door neighbor.”