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Athens Code Enforcement Officer said his communication with the property owners and an expectation of results will be the city's approach going forward.

David Campbell became code officer in July, a position in the Development Services Department.

He said since then the office has handled about 345 cases, of which 85 are still active.

"Our goal is to contact as many property owners as possible, start a conversation and build a rapport in our community," Campbell said. "Our intention is to pick up the phone and have a conversation about an issue without mailing a letter."

Some violations have grown over the years and will not be solved with one visit or conversation.

"If a property owner shows that he or she is working on a violation in good faith, we will give that person a reasonable amount of time," Campbell said. "'We want to avoid just sending a notice of a violation, which some have referred to as a nasty-gram."

There are issues in all four corners of the city, Some are big and some are small.  It's important for the city to clean up code violations because they affect the quality of life of the residents, Campbell said.

It will not benefit the property owner to ignore the code officer's attempts to make contact and hope they will go away.

"We are very clear that we are here for the long term, we show up and expect to see reasonable result," Campbell said.

Campbell has a list of changes he wants to see implemented, including:

• Enacting a graffiti ordinance to compel the property owner to paint over the tagged area;

• Forbidding the storage of utility trailers on public streets:

• Improve communications with the citizens concerning the requirement of mowing the area between the fence line and curb or street line commonly known as the right-of-way and

• Increase the administrative fee when city abates property.

"The code enforcement position requires the constant monitoring of situations throughout the city and I believe we have a good team in place," Campbell said.

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