By CATHY MOUNCE
Register Staff Writer
The Tuesday Kiwanis meeting had City of Gainesville code compliance officer Chip Matthews on hand to discuss his part in the current cleaning up of the city as set by city council.
Matthews said that here are three important things to know and to not violate when approaching a clean up project.
He said, “It is important to remember that the first, fourth and 14th amendment to the constitution must not be violated which includes a property owner’s right of freedom of speech, avoiding illegal search and seizure and providing an equal process under the law.”
Matthews said that there is a due process that must take place including investigation of the complaint and that immediate gratification in taking care of a nuisance takes time in the civil process.
“Normally when a complaint is made in a civil matter, there are certain steps that must be taken before action can commence,” he continued. “Usually there may be as many as 26 steps involved before the problem can be solved and it takes time to work through procedures.”
Matthews stated that his team is currently investigating 500 potential violations per month.
“It is a lot of work for just two people but I hope to hire two other compliance officers by fall and then can divide the city up into four equal quadrants for investigations,” he said.
Matthews continued, “For the most part, the citizens of Gainesville have been very compliant with 90 percent cooperating with the cleanup activities.”
He urges citizens to call and communicate with him regarding their problems ranging from hauling away junk cars, to debris removal, to house abatement, high grass areas and other concerns.
Regarding house abatements, Matthew said that since January 2013, 100 houses in Gainesville have been planned to be demolished this year with over 70 already taken place.
He said that one of the missions for code compliance is to investigate 2,400 of the 10,000 structures in Gainesville city that appear to be uninhabited or in severe disrepair.
In other Kiwanis news, the recent golf tournament raised over $5,000 as a fund raiser. Also $20 raffle tickets will be offered for the elimination of neonatal tetanus, one of the causes the Kiwanis is committed to.
By CATHY MOUNCE
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