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Code enforcement is the act of enforcing a set of rules, principles, or laws and insuring observance of a system of norms or customs. In the United States, those employed in various capacities of code enforcement may be called Code Enforcement Officers, Municipal Regulations Officers, or other various titles depending on their specialization. Per Florida Statute 162.21, a “code enforcement officer” means any designated employee or agent of a county or municipality whose duty it is to enforce codes and ordinances enacted by the county or municipality.
The code enforcement process is typically initiated in two different ways, learn about these on the How Ordinances and Codes Are Enforced page.
When the City receives a complaint about an ordinance or code violation or a violation is found by means of pro-actively patrolling the community, an investigation takes place to determine the validity of the violation. If it is determined that the complaint is valid, the respondent (responsible entity) is given notice of the violation, the corrective action to be taken to bring the violation into compliance, and a specified amount of time that the violation must to be brought into compliance by.
Repeat violations and high priority violations such as health and safety violations are given a lesser amount of time for compliance and may have a citation or enforcement hearing summons immediately issued. If the respondent fails to voluntarily come into compliance, additional enforcement proceedings may take place.
The City established the Code Enforcement Board in 2001. The Board is comprised of five members, all of whom are Mary Esther residents from different walks of life. The Board was established to hear cases of municipal ordinance and code violations that were not resolved by voluntary compliance. Public hearings are held for each case that does not come into compliance within the time specified by the Code Enforcement Division. The Code Enforcement Board may order fines to be paid by the respondent with a maximum amount of up to $5,000 per day and may order an administration fee to be paid of up to compensate the City for actual costs of prosecution.
In addition, the board also has the authority to order violations to be brought into compliance by steps deemed necessary by the board. If a fine is not paid or the violation is not brought into compliance, the City has the authority to place a special lien on any real property of the violator and may foreclose on the property after three months of the filing of such lien.
If a specified time has been ordered for compliance by the Special Magistrate and the violation remains non-compliant past that time, a daily fine will begin to accrue against the property. After 90 days from the filing of the Special Magistrates order, if the violation remains non-compliant and any fees and fines remain unpaid, the City may initiate foreclosure proceedings against any real and personal property owned by the respondent in Florida. If a violation constitutes a threat to the public health, safety or welfare, the City may also take abatement actions.
Learn about the penalities for violating different City ordinances or codes on the Penalties for Violating a City Ordinance or Code page.