Friday, April 02, 2004

BTW on Code Enforcement and the Deland article

At the end of the article on challenges to Deland's enforcement of it's "2 unrelated people" limit for families, there was a statement that after June 1 the City would be able to asses their $500/day fines without any further hearings. This isn't really the case.

Those of us who've had to deal with Chapter 162 on Code Enforcement probably have a lot of comments on the limitations of the statute. But it appears that a lot of people are unaware of Massey v. Charlotte County, 842 So. 2d 142 (Fla. 2d DCA 2003) (here's the original 2d DCA original opinion) . It held that the statute has to be interpreted so as to require the Code Enforcement Board (or whatever it's called locally) to hold a hearing to confirm that a violation is ongoing and make the findings required by the statute before actually levying a fine. And while it gave the local governments a lot of wiggle room on the actual process, it makes it clear that there must be one.

Moreover, given that the decision basically says that this is a fundamental due process question, I think there's a strong argument that it applies to any code enforcement action and fine that hasn't yet been finalized into a lien.

Love to hear any war stories from folks who have used this decision to get a hearing from a CEB or against fines that have been levied in contravention to it.

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