Targeted Code Enforcement

The City of Paducah Fire Prevention Department plays a critical role in the revitalization of the Fountain Avenue Neighborhood.  This will be accomplished by very strict property maintenance, inspection and enforcement. Targeted code enforcement in the City of Paducah means the systematic inspection, both inside and out, of every structure in the Fountain Avenue Neighborhood.  The process began in 2006 with the inspection of rental properties in the area.  Eventually all of the structures in the area will be inspected.

The Fire Prevention Department has employed a Fountain Avenue Neighborhood Code Enforcement Program Manager to coordinate all of the code enforcement in the area.  In addition to this, part of the job description requires the employee to become familiar with all of the resident’s properties and be able to identify common problems associated with the FASA structures.  The Code Enforcement Program Manager also coordinates neighborhood plan related activities.  An integral part of this employee’s duties is to encourage neighborhood reinvestment, both for existing owners as well as for potential new residents.  Strict, uniform code application, and fair property maintenance inspections are the foundation on which we will rebuild this neighborhood. 

Why Code Enforcement?

Property values reflect the overall appearance of the neighborhood.  Responsible property owners maintain their property and expect the same from other neighborhood property owners.  Neighborhood pride is obvious when all properties are kept mowed, shrubs and plants are reasonably trimmed, leaves are raked, alleys and gutters are clean, litter and rubbish is routinely picked up, and junk is not stored in the yards. 

Addressing nuisance property condition issues in the ordinances may appear to some to be focusing unnecessarily on the cosmetic or aesthetic in nature, when ‘greater’ issues of threat to life safety should be our primary objective.  It is the strongly held opinion of the City Fire Prevention Department, as well as the City Planning Department, that full and continuous enforcement of the nuisance code is absolutely vital to the success of the Fountain Avenue project.  Unsanitary conditions put residents, and especially children, at risk.  The health and welfare as well as life safety of all citizens of Paducah is very important and a key for prosperity and growth. 

Some examples of these nuisance risks are: excessive weeds and grass; over-grown bushes; chipping and peeling paint; over-grown fence lines and alley ways; filled or clogged drainage-ways creating areas of stagnant water or mold / mildew growth which increases irritating pollens, mosquitoes and other insects; increased habitat for rodents or other vermin; accumulated litter, rubbish, scattered garbage, junk, discarded appliances and automobiles.

How the Codes Work

In April of 2006, after several neighborhood meetings and with the support of the neighborhood, the City Commission adopted amendments to the Nuisance Code and updated the property maintenance code to the 2006 edition of the International Property Maintenance Code.  By having the property maintenance code regulated under the Nuisance Code Enforcement Board, the City can assess civil penalties for violations of the code if the violations are not corrected.  Foreclosure proceedings can be initiated for those properties whose penalties accrue to a substantial amount. 

One of three outcomes can occur during this process.  Either the current owner can agree to make complete repairs and upgrades as required and then resolve the fine issue with the City, the City is paid the amount of the fines by a new owner who makes all repairs/upgrades as required or the City returns the property to the real estate market through foreclosure.  The goal of this process is to have the property rehabbed to as high a standard as we can legally require, whether that’s the current owner or a new responsible property owner that can maintain it to the enhanced property maintenance standards.

Enhanced Standards

In addition to the amendments mentioned above, the City Commission, with neighborhood support, adopted the Fountain Avenue Neighborhood Enhanced Property Maintenance Standards.  These enhanced standards will provide for quality renovation of many of the properties that would have continued to suffer declines as potentially serious problems were masked over or ignored.  A higher maintenance standard in the neighborhood improves the overall health, safety, and welfare of the residents.  An important secondary effect is that the overall appearance of the neighborhood is enhanced, therefore helping to increase property values.  These enhanced standards also create the sense of security necessary to attract market rate re-investment back to this neighborhood.