Eastpointe increases environmental code control

By: Sara Kandel | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published July 16, 2013

 Environmental Code Control Officer Cynthia Davis inspects a pile of trash and debris outside an Eastpointe home.

Environmental Code Control Officer Cynthia Davis inspects a pile of trash and debris outside an Eastpointe home.

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EASTPOINTE — As part of the city’s goal of decreasing blight, rodent populations and environmental hazards, Eastpointe recently hired a part-time code enforcement officer to join the now four-person Environmental Compliance Team.

City Manager Steve Duchane said that the city is amplifying environmental code enforcement in an effort to reduce unfavorable sights and odors, provide safe and clean neighborhoods and increase residential knowledge of city codes.

“It’s about living conditions in the community,” Duchane said. “It’s about common codes that deal with things like creating safe harbors for rodents — and eliminating those where people have created those — disposal of trash, lawn waste, long weeds and conditions like that.”

As an environmental code enforcement officer, Cynthia Davis, an Eastpointe resident, will primarily enforce code issues on residential and private property. Her responsibilities include responding to residential complaints and looking for and starting the process of eradicating issues with blight, maintenance violations, and tall grass and weeds throughout the 5.1-square-mile city.

“The type of violations I see most are high weeds and grass, and rubbish and garbage,” Davis said. “I think most people don’t know they are in violation of high weeds and grass, because I think a lot of people think, because it is their property, they can keep it how they want — and store garbage where they want. I don’t think they know garbage cans are supposed to be stored behind the house — and just making them aware that they are in violation solves many of the issues.”

Davis is the second part-time code enforcement officer the city has hired since December, when they brought on part-time environmental code control officer Chris Cieslak, who focuses on trash and rubbish problems, rodents and other environmental issues.

The city also has two full-time code enforcement officers — John Naples and Ron Demski — who focus on blight, long grass and weeds, loose gutters, junk vehicles, peeling paint, deteriorating structures, property maintenance, broken windows and commercial property site plan violations.

Demski also oversees the city’s sidewalk replacement program during the summer months, identifying sidewalk slabs in need of replacement in specified areas of the city. This year, the sidewalk replacement program will focus on the section of the city between Eight Mile and Nine Mile roads, from Boulder to Beachwood.

“We now have four people on our code enforcement team, and having another person on allows us to spend more time addressing the issues that need to be addressed, specifically with our new waste haulers, so residents know what is expected of them and the proper way to store and put out their garbage,” said Director of Building, Public Works and Economic Development Mary Van Haaren, referring to the city’s new contract with Rizzo Services for waste removal and recycling services.

Under the city’s contract with Rizzo, all 13,000 households in the city will receive complimentary 64-gallon wheeled recycling totes and 96-gallon wheeled garbage totes. Residents are being asked to use the new garbage and recycling containers, which the city hopes will reduce rodent infestation and help streamline the waste-hauling system throughout the city.

Immediately following the contract approval May 22, the City Council moved to allow residents one year to get used to the new totes. Up to July 2014, residents will be allowed to use their current trash containers, but residents are asked to give the new totes a try when they begin receiving them this summer.

Senior citizens and people with disabilities who are unable to maneuver the new totes can contact Rizzo to arrange an alternate trash pickup plan. Rizzo Services can be reached at (866) 772-8900.

Sidewalk cracks, long grass, rodents, garbage storage and disposal, and similar issues make up the bulk of the intensified code enforcement effort in the city, but they aren’t the heart of it. The heart of the effort is not only to foster safe and clean neighborhoods, but to encourage better community relations and healthy-living lifestyle changes.

“It’s about the more shorter-term, living-condition code issues or habits that people have that may not promote healthy engagement with their neighbors and a healthy community environment,” Duchane said. “It’s a community-living guide, where the code is how you live, what you do and the correct process for various things.”

To view the Eastpointe Code of Ordinances, visit www.cityofeastpointe.net, click the government tab at the top of the page and then click on the ‘City Charter and Ordinances’ link. For more information, call (586) 445-3661.

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