The Hollister City Council gave direction to Code Enforcement Officer Mike Chambless to begin notifying the public that the City is going to be enforcing its Codes and Ordinances proactively. There will also be a review of the codes to acquaint the Councll with what is in the City's Codes. It was noted that much Code Enforcement had been suspended due to the council's feeling that the codes needed to be updated. It was noted by Mr. Chambless that this had not yet occurred in all cases.
The City will be using press releases, the City Newsletter, and inserts in the water bills, to inform the public of the upcoming change in enforcement. Previously, the Code Enforcement Officer was to only respond to complaints, rather than being proactive and responding to violations he observed himself.
Mayor Ignacio Velazquez stated that it was his initiative that was moving the code enforcement forward at this time. He said he wanted to address some of the things that make the city look ugly and to enforce cars parking inappropriately on lawns, false alarm reports and to support the Police Chief in giving him better tools to do his job. The city's police will be given new citation books which will include code violations. Code Enforcement Officer Chambless said that this will begin in the next month, after police are trained.
There was discussion at the City Council meeting of the lack of enforcement of the Sign Ordinance and Officer Chambless noted he had a collection of photos of over 100 sign violations in the City. He noted that previously the Council had directed him, in the enforcement of Code Violations, to educate first, before fining. Chambless noted that out of 234 violations, only 10 violators have been fined. The remainder were handled through education. The Council intends to continue this approach.
It was suggested and agreed that the City conduct workshops to educate the public about the Codes and Ordinances about to be enforced. Interim City Manager William Avera noted that the Sign Ordinance was passed only 3 years ago and was done with the input of the Downtown Association and the Chamber of Commerce, so he thought that the public had had sufficient input into that Ordinance for it to be enforced.