Fayette to consider code violation fees

With more vacant homes in Fayette County due to foreclosures, the county’s building permit and inspection office has seen an uptick in inspection requests for code violation citations.

Department Director Joe Scarborough said some of the homes have overgrown grass and shrubs, or they’ve been vandalized, and others have pools that aren’t maintained and have stagnant water.

Currently the county doesn’t charge a fee for violations of the property maintenance code, even for violators who fail to fix the issue and must be taken to court. But that may change in the near future.

Thursday night the Fayette County Commission will be presented with information on the cost incurred by the county in staff time to deal with such situations. Staff is requesting that the commission institute some fee to deal with code violations and also the handling of demolition permits and inspections of greenhouses.

County staff has not provided any recommendations as to what the fees should be. Instead a detailed line item cost analysis has been compiled for each category for which a new fee could be assessed, including:
• Notice of violation (compliance by homeowner), $119.03.
• Notice of violation (non-compliance by homeowner), $219.50.
• Demolition permit, $100.78.
• Greenhouse structure inspection, $441.91.

Those cost estimates are based on the amount of staff time to handle each matter. In 2009, the county handled 29 demolition permits, 46 notice of violation permits (with homeowner compliance) and 46 notice of violation permits (with non-compliance by the homeowner), according to county staff.

The only time any fees are charged in any of the scenarios is when a property is ruled by the court to be in non-compliance with the property maintenance code, Scarborough said. Even then, for such cases he might be required to be in court for anywhere from two to five hours, he said.

The commission meeting begins at 7 p.m. Thursday at the county’s Stonewall government complex at the southwest corner of Ga. highways 54 and 85 in downtown Fayetteville.

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