Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Help Me Howard: No Code Enforcement
Have you ever seen a city or county official ignore a violation or not enforce a law. That's what one Aventura man says is happening in his neighborhood. Some people say it's not a big deal. He does and wants to know if city officials have to enforce the law, so he called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- When Herb bought an apartment in Aventura 40 years ago, it was a quiet place, not anymore.
Herb Taup: "We hear the noise all night long. We can't keep a window open when it's cool outside."
The noise comes from this strip mall next to their complex. Herb and his neighbors tried to block it from going up a few years ago and lost that battle.
Herb Taup: "Before five in the morning they unload trailers continuously."
Now they are getting more noise after this air conditioned trailer was parked in the strip mall. They have tried to get it removed and are losing that battle as well.
Herb Taup: "This is an on going problem."
In fact, the 40 foot long trailer has been brought in before this time by a kosher restaurant to store supplies during Jewish holidays, like Passover.
Herb Taup: "They're not allowed to have anything there, nothing is suppose to be there."
The trailer is supposed to be temporary, and so some people say don't worry about it, but Herb says it was brought in four weeks before Passover and there is no guarantee it will be taken away, so the neighbors complained.
Herb Taup: "We called code enforcement, code enforcement gives nothing but double talk."
Aventura's own codes don't allow outside storage, like this trailer, so Herb called the bosses at city hall.
Herb Taup: "City Hall is useless. We called the mayors office. We called the city administrator's office."
No one listened. Nothing happened, in the meantime the fan runs while Herb steams.
Herb Taup: "The point is they're violating the laws and nobody wants to help us. They're all for the landlord, the building for the owners of the strip malls. They don't care about us, the resident has no chance in this community."
Well Howard, it's a code violation, but can a city ignore its own codes.
Howard Finkelstein: "Whether this trailer is temporary or permanent, the city can chose to ignore its own codes. A resident can't even get a judge to order the city to enforce its own laws. The best solution is a political one, contact your election officials and demand they do what they were elected to do."
When we talked to Aventura officials, we were told the trailer was considered temporary and not a serious violation, but after Herbs complaints, the city did give the restaurant owner a warning, giving him five days to remove the trailer.
The owner told us he could not do that because it was full of food for all his customers, who flock to Aventura for Passover.
Two weeks after warning was ignored, the city fined him $250. After the trailer sat there for another week, another $250 fine was issued. By then Passover had begun and the owner moved the trailer out. He told us next year he'll come up with a new place to store his supplies.
The trailer is gone. Herb is happy about that, but says he and his neighbors won't forget the city officials who let it sit there week after week.
Herb Taup: "These people forget that comes November we have 1,200 votes in this building, we don't have to get these incumbents back in."
And Howard is convinced that politicians will listen to the voters. Call me cynical, but hey, Howard's suggestion. When they have council or commission meetings show up and talk to get their attention, and of course do what Herb and his neighbors in Aventura plan to do, show up on election day.
Storing troubles that keep trailing you. Hoping they will just pass-over. Contact us. We don't have any enforcement power, but we can make a little noise, hopefully in a good way.
CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org (Please include your contact phone number when emailing)
REPORTER: Patrick Fraser at email@example.com