City of Ventura to become proactive in Code Enforcement







Ventura City Hall

By Camille Harris

Ventura: The recently held enforcement “workshop” on March 24th did not lend itself to discuss or even consider solutions put forward by the public as had been expected. The decision had already been made for code enforcement to return to proactive enforcement. It was similar to a regular council meeting but the code enforcement staff was directed by the Ventura City Council on which areas to focus ont for ticketing.  Because there were no microphones, several in the audience complained they could not hear what was being said.

Council-member Tracy, with his strong policing background, gave the most direction, telling code enforcement to be active seven days a week and nights as well. He advised them to use “discretion” but there was no example given of what that meant.

The community uproar over the  six week period of proactive code enforcement in 2009 continues to reverberate and cause anxiety with citizens and that is what initiated the cry for the Safe City Initiative to insure a fresh start and safe housing for city residents.

Upset citizens who did not even know they had done anything wrong, suddenly cited by code enforcement, caused the city to get a black eye and lose the public’s trust. The city ended up with a devastating Grand Jury Report against code enforcement. The solutions provided by The Ventura Safe Housing Collaborative recommending grandfathering have been largely ignored.

Going from one extreme of very lax enforcement for decades to the other extreme of aggressive enforcement cries out for a middle step:  allowing citizens to get their properties safe before the war begins. Otherwise, this move to proactive code enforcement portends more uprisings and possibly lawsuits.

The saddest aspect is that many unsuspecting citizens could be hurt, as most in the older sections of town are missing permits and have some kind of extension on their homes such as service porches or bedrooms. However, this could create widespread support for the Safe City Initiative.  It is the missing middle step Ventura needs.

To view past meetings  where I spoke on this subject please visit this Video Channel


Camille Harris is the co-proponent with Helen Yunker for the Safe City Initiative to legalize safe existing housing where permits are missing from the city’s records, for the city of Ventura.

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