Pasco cracking down on code violators

By Leah Masuda, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, January 05, 2017, 5:50 PM EST

In Pasco County, sweep teams are done waiting for callers to complain. They've been going out every day actively looking for code violators.

  • Pasco County to hire four more code enforcement officers
  • Officers are taking a proactive approach to violators
  • Violations might include having trash or debris in the yard

It’s a job that’s not always pretty.

“Technically they haven't been warned for trash, but they will be today," said Officer Amalio Vera on Thursday during a ride-along.

Vera stopped at a home Thursday that had 12 calls for code enforcement violations over the past two years. The home had debris and other items in the yard and driveway.

The homeowner, upset by the officer's being there, was given a warning.

“As long as the boat is gone, the debris put back in your garage within 7 days, I'll close the case up," Vera told the homeowner.

Over the past year, the county has had dedicated code enforcement sweep teams going from home to home checking violations.

“The TV, the coffee tables, the mattress, even the cooler looks like it’s broken," said Vera to another resident to whom he was writing a courtesy warning.

The teams work with communities like Beacon Square in Holiday and community activists like Karen Hauser.

“At one time the majority of houses had trash," said Hauser. "Now you can still find them, but it's rare."

The teams are out five days a week with the main goal of educating home owners and renters, with most only issuing warnings.

The county says about 87 percent of people it gives warnings to typically fix the issues on their property within 14 days.

It’s made a difference, according to Hauser, who has been trying to clean up her community for years.

“It's much safer to live here now and it's getting better all the time,” said Hauser.

The county plans to hire four more officers in January, to make a total of four sweep teams. Pasco County Sheriff’s Office also has three dedicated corporals to assist in enforcing the code violations.