You Asked For It: What can citizens do about residential visual pollution

This streetscape along San Marco Blvd. illustrates the need for management of visual pollution

By Steve DiMattia
Resident Community News

After reading last month’s article about the Neighborhood Inventory of Visual Pollution survey conducted by City Beautiful Jax and Riverside Avondale Preservation, one reader asked whether the survey includes residential areas and then what citizens can do to address concerns about visual pollution on private property.
To find the answer, we turned to Bill Brinton, president of City Beautiful Jax, and three City of Jacksonville employees: John Crescimbeni, City Councilman At-Large, Group 2, who participated in the Riverside/Avondale NIVP survey; Debbie Delgado, Public Communications Officer; and Loretta Major, Contract Compliance Coordinator.
“The NIVP survey only addresses visual pollution in public spaces,” Brinton said. “We then send what we find to the appropriate government office for them to take care of it. So, our survey focuses on things such as dead trees, rusted fire hydrants, cracked sidewalks and defacement of street signs, mailboxes and utility boxes.”
Councilman Crescimbeni noted that citizens could notify the city directly of violations by private property owners – something occurring off city right of way and on privately owned property – via phone at 630-CITY (904-630-2489), online at 630city.coj.net or by email at [email protected]
“They will farm it out to the appropriate business unit within the city government to have an inspector go out and take a look,” Crescimbeni said. “The caller will be assigned a case number and with that case number they can follow the progress of that case by going to 630city.coj.net and plugging in the number.”
Debbie Delgado and Loretta Major provided detailed information about the specific ordinances that address Nuisance Properties (518.202) and Resident’s Responsibilities (382.415). To read the full codes, go to www.municode.com.
Delgado wrote in an email: A residential property can be cited a Nuisance Property under the city’s ordinance code (518.202). Residents can call 630-CITY to report (anonymously if preferred) trash, debris, tall grass, etc. in a neighbor’s yard. A Municipal Code & Compliance Officer is assigned and inspects the property. If given a warning citation, the homeowner then has 15 days to correct the violation. On second inspection, if not in compliance, the homeowner can be subjected to a $255 citation. Further non-compliance could result in abatement by the city, with the cost eventually ending up as a lien against the property, and an appearance in front of the code board. This process can take several months, and is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Also, homeowners do have a responsibility to bring their trashcans in by 6 a.m. the following day after pick-up (382.415). Residents can also call 630-CITY to report this issue. A Solid Waste officer will either call the resident and inform him or her of the code, or leave an informational brochure. These outreaches usually deter any future violations. If the violation is persistent, however, the Solid Waste officer can issue a warning citation, followed by a paying citation anywhere from $50-$250. This is also determined on a case-by-case basis.

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