Tuesday, May 3, 2011


The other day I was speaking to a neighbor who had received a citation for trash in his alley. He was complaining because a) he didn’t feel it was warranted, and b) he had to take time off from work to go the DJ’s office to fight it.

Currently in Norristown if you get a warning citation about a certain violation on your property like tall grass, you are given a certain amount of time to fix it and then if you don’t you are given a citation. This means you have to appear before the judge and plead your case. If you are found guilty you are required to pay the fine set by the judge and then you are sent on your way. The violation may not get fixed, but your pocket is lightened.

I think that what should happen is that a citation is placed on your door stating the fine for the violation and you either pay it or go to the DJ and plead your case saying you are not guilty. It you have the violation again, you get another citation and the same process starts over again. This does several things:
  • Allows people to know upfront what the charge is.
  • Reduces the traffic in the DJ’s office.
  • Possibly creates an incentive for people to not create the violation again.
I think that if we make code enforcement more user friendly, we might get better cooperation from the citizens. There would be more openness about what violations cost and there could be faster turnaround for the resolutions of these kinds of issues. If I knew that I had 15 days to pay or go to court and that I could get ticket after ticket unless I fixed something, I think I might be more inclined to fix the situation. I tend to think that others feel the same.

Just my two cents...

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