Following the lead of law enforcement, San Diego's code enforcement department is opening storefront offices where residents can come in with questions and complaints.
"Neighborhood eyesores and unkempt yards have always been a source of contention for homeowners, but the opening of a new community code-enforcement storefront in Spring Valley has made it easier for East County residents to stay informed of building ordinances and settle zoning disputes.
The office, which opened last month, is the fourth of its kind in San Diego County. The others are in Fallbrook, Ramona and Bonita.
Pam Elias, the county's Code Enforcement division chief, said the county wanted a face-to-face relationship with residents. The storefront concept is modeled on the efforts of the San Diego police and sheriff's departments, which have several similar community-outreach offices in the region.
"We thought (the storefront office) would be a great idea for code enforcement," Elias said. "We're actually the first code-enforcement group in the San Diego County region that is trying something like this."
The storefront gives residents the chance to talk to county enforcement officers stationed at the office about a variety of issues, including illegal waste accumulation, unauthorized building construction and inoperative vehicles parked on the street. Complaints of weeds and yard overgrowth are also common.
Elias said homeowners in disagreement with their neighbors over zoning issues may use the storefronts to file an official complaint or simply make inquiries regarding the legality of a possible violation before acting."