Sure. Oklahoma City's code enforcement officers spend a lot of time writing up violations for out-of-control grass and weeds, especially in the summertime.
But they also tend to eyesores and matters that affect property values or safety.
Oklahoma City Code Enforcement Inspector Tammie Brimm remembers when Kitty Maxine Lewis was found dead in her northwest Oklahoma City home in 2009.
Brimm, along with police, health officials, animal control and others had responded for years to complaints about the house — tall grass, foul smells, multiple cats.
The house was classified three times as unfit to live, and was razed after the body of Lewis, 61, was found decomposing inside.
Cause of death was unclear, but those close to the case speculated the conditions in and around the home contributed to her demise.
“It was just awful,” said Brimm, who's been a code enforcement officer since 2004.
“In these kinds of cases there's not much I can do but clean up the outside.”
Neighbors were worried about Lewis, but also about their families' well-being and how the smelly and cluttered house affected the value of their homes.
Not all complaints are as serious as the Lewis case. Brimm most often cites homeowners for violations like inoperable vehicles, unsafe structures, dead trees blocking sidewalks, and junk, debris and trash scattered around a dwelling. But ...
“High grass and weeds are definitely our highest volume calls,” Brimm said.
Oklahoma City's 27 code enforcement officers filed about 1,600 liens against properties last year to recover costs from mowing.
It's a violation of city code for grass and weeds to grow 12 inches or higher.
A typical day
Typically Brimm's day begins around 7:30 a.m. at her office where she goes over complaints, researches properties and lays out an itinerary of where to go for the day.
Code enforcement responds on a complaint basis.
However, there are areas with frequent violations that officers sweep routinely. One such area for Brimm is around NW 10 and Rockwell Avenue.
A July 17 sweep around Oak Wood Town Homes, south of NW 10 and west of Rockwell, yielded more than a handful of inoperable cars and numerous violations of trash and junk scattered around the complex, including used furniture, baskets of clothes and toys remnants.
The property also has issues with graffiti.
Brimm issues notices of violation on bright yellow paper that note the specific violation and who to contact with any questions.
She tapes the violation on the door of the property, if she can, takes a photo and mails a copy to the property owner.
Typically homeowners have 10 days to fix the nuisance.
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