Administrators in Tehama County are hoping a proposed ordinance will clean up a messy situation. Neglected properties have become a nuisance as owners start to use their land as a dumping ground.
There is currently a process in place to penalize these property owners. But its not working all that well.
But a new plan before the Tehama County Board of Supervisors next week that would hit negligent owners where it hurts, their wallet.
It's a simple request displayed on most county roads, "Please don't litter Tehama County."
“No one wants to live next to a mess, bottom line,” said Jim Hamilton, Tehama County Planning Director.
But in parts of Tehama County, litter has been taken to the extreme and living next to a mess has become a reality. Properties like this one in Los Molinos have been abandoned and used as a dumping ground.
“They are really, to a large degree, accumulations of debris and garbage on properties, they may actually involve some construction on property that is illegal or unsafe,” said Hamilton.
Across the county there are currently 340 properties with active code violations. County departments do their best to deal with them, but there is a problem.
“A criminal type process that we currently have in place took quite a while, you know months to get that taken care of,” said Hamilton.
But Jim Hamilton with the Tehama County Planning Department, has a new plan. Instead of focusing on criminal prosecution, fine the violators one-hundred dollars a day until they clean it up.
“This is in essence a civil abatement process where it is really done administratively,” said Hamilton.
Fines would happen after property owners are given several notices and the money collected would help support the clean-up effort.
“The changes that are happening, they don't eliminate the criminal side of that exists already in the county but they provide a more streamlined process,” said Hamilton.
The hope is that process will result in cleaner, safer properties, and less eye-sores.
Code enforcement officials say the vast majority of people will deal with the issues themselves and never be fined. But still 148 new violations have been identified just this year...
The Board of Supervisors will consider this ordinance on December 4th.