Code En­force­ment seeks to work with res­i­dents for bet­ter Polk

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - By Kevin Myrick kmyrick@polk­stan­dard­jour­nal.net

Of­fi­cer Casey Lyall sees a ver­sion of the fol­low­ing prob­lem ev­ery day he rides around the hun­dreds of square miles that make up Polk County. Down some back road, or even along a main thor­ough­fare, some­one has a house that is truly fall­ing apart.

Their yards haven’t been mowed in ages, and the grass is tall enough to hide ro­dents of all kinds. Cars are left to rust in plain sight of the neigh­bors. Trail­ers left aban­doned have un­sightly holes in the outer pan­el­ing, or graf­fiti painted on the sides.

Lyall, who took over the role of the County’s Code En­force­ment Of­fi­cer un­der the Polk County Po­lice Depart­ment, said that all these are prob­lems he wants to tackle and much more in ef­forts to Keep Polk Beau­ti­ful for all.

Right now, he’s still got a lot of work ahead of him to get peo­ple to work with him, and not against his goals.

“The big­gest prob­lem are that peo­ple are un­aware that or­di­nances ex­ist within the county,” Lyall said in a re­cent in­ter­view. “It hap­pened again just the other night. I went and spoke with a young man, and he kept say­ing ‘well I don’t live in the city.’ But I told him time and again that ‘Look at the side of my truck. You’re in the county, and there are or­di­nances.’”

Rules and reg­u­la­tions are what gov­ern what peo­ple can and can’t do on their prop­er­ties, and just be­cause some­one lives out­side of the city lim­its doesn’t mean they don’t fall un­der guide­lines put in place by Polk County’s Com­mis­sion, which over­sees all the un­in­cor­po­rated parts of the county.

The big­gest code vi­o­la­tions Lyall wants to com­bat as he con­tin­ues to grow in his new role as the County’s Code En­force­ment Of­fi­cer is to tackle trash and over­grown yards.

“The sec­ond prob­lem would be peo­ple with swim­ming pools that don’t have fences around them,” he said. “Above ground pools with a deck around it re­quires a fence around the deck, but those with­out have to have a re­mov­able or safety lad­der.”

He wants to help peo­ple, not sim­ply serve a ci­ta­tion and move on. That he ar­gues only makes the process more dif­fi­cult, and usu­ally doesn’t end in the home­owner pay­ing any fines for vi­o­la­tions af­ter go­ing back and forth in court sev­eral times to ad­ju­di­cate the is­sue. Or more likely, the home­owner will cor­rect the is­sue and it never heads to court in the first place.

The best way that lo­cal res­i­dents can avoid a trip to their home from Lyall is to be­come bet­ter ed­u­cated on what they can do on their prop­er­ties, and un­der­stand that in many cases he’s only there to help them bet­ter their home­steads. All those rules and reg­u­la­tions are avail­able on­line at Polk­ge­or­gia.org via their link to the Mu­ni­code sys­tem, which con­tains the county’s char­ter and or­di­nances and any up­dates made to those doc­u­ments.

“You’ve got ed­u­cate folks,” he said. “You’ve got to let peo­ple know these or­di­nances ap­ply to them, and they have to fol­low those or­di­nances.”

Lyall dur­ing his new role as Code En­force­ment Of­fi­cer said he’s also work­ing to ad­dress sev­eral trash-re­lated is­sues within the county as well, and asks peo­ple to be more dili­gent about keep­ing their prop­er­ties clean of refuse over­all. It serves two roles in that it makes a home look good from the road for neigh­bors and vis­i­tors alike, and that it also serves to pre­vent the in­crease in the ro­dent pop­u­la­tion by pro­vid­ing them food sources, and spread­ing dis­eases by keep­ing down the in­sect pop­u­la­tion as well.

All of these things com­bined are easy to do for those who are able, but some prop­erty own­ers find them­selves in trou­ble and phys­i­cally in­ca­pable of cor­rect­ing the is­sues. Lyall hopes to help with that prob­lem as well by con­nect­ing el­derly home­own­ers for in­stance with or­ga­ni­za­tions that are will­ing to help, and also by rec­og­niz­ing that each case is go­ing to be han­dled on an in­di­vid­ual ba­sis.

He doesn’t mind the work since his ul­ti­mate goal is to make the land he trav­els daily beau­ti­ful for all who live here, in­clud­ing those who might be out­side of the or­di­nances cur­rently. He just wants it to be nice for his fam­ily and ev­ery­one else’s as well.

Any­one who has code en­force­ment is­sues to dis­cuss can con­tact Lyall via the Polk County Po­lice Depart­ment at 770-7480-7331.

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