New Hendry code enforcement process

LABELLE — Hendry County’s new code enforcement process will be as follows, as resolved by the county board on May 28:

The recommended steps:

•Hire a special magistrate, and take all code cases to the special magistrate. This will include mowing, unsafe structures, miscellaneous (junk & debris, inoperable vehicles etc.).

• The corrections to the violations will be the responsibility of the property owners and may take two months or more for compliance; at some point, increased and/or daily fines could be imposed.

• Money will be set aside for magistrate-ordered cleanups or demolitions. These costs will be passed onto the violators and reimbursement can happen if/when the fines are paid. Also, the costs of the special magistrate process can be assessed to the violators. If fines go unpaid by the violator, a lien may be placed on the property and payment to the county would occur when a property is refinanced or sold.

• The county may choose to pursue foreclosure if the special magistrate and county attorney recommend proceeding toward county takeover of the property. This is already done routinely when the court process is not complied with.

Chris Felker can be reached at cfelker@newszap.com

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