The El Paso County Code Enforcement Office has received numerous calls in regard to County code enforcement issues for tall weeds, pine needles and piles of branches and brush. The Waldo Canyon Fire has brought heightened awareness for fire mitigation in neighborhoods in El Paso County.
Mark Gebhart, El Paso County Development Services, said, “People are calling to complain about their neighbor’s property. They have lots of pine needles, tall weeds and piles of branches. All of these may be covered by our County codes. The callers want this handled immediately because of the fire concerns.”
The normal procedure is for the code enforcement staff to visually investigate the reported offense and if legitimate, to issue a formal notices to fix or clean the property. That could take up to one week depending on the case load for the office. Once the notice is given the property owner has 10 days to bring the property up to code. If that doesn’t happen, the code enforcement office will bring the property owner before the Board of County Commissioners to start legal action. That could take up to four weeks.
“They want us to solve the problem immediately,” Gebhart said. “The county doesn’t have the legal ability, the staff or financial means to do that immediately. The best thing that could happen is for the neighbors to talk about the problem with the owner and have the property owner take care of it. Or for the neighbors to join in together to help with what needs to be done.”
Firefighters have already praised homeowners in Cedar Heights for some of the fire mitigation work that was done previously. The defensible space has helped the firefighters battle the Waldo Canyon Fire and protect homes on the western side of El Paso County.
“The Waldo Canyon Fire could be a positive incentive if it encourages people to clean up their property and create defensible space to protect their homes,” Gebhart said. “The fire danger won’t go away when this fire is put out.”
To report code enforcement issues in El Paso County call 520-6300.
For code enforcement issues within the city limits of Colorado Springs call 444-7891.
Home owners can learn more about fire mitigation and defensible space at www.frewise.org or by contacting their local fire department.