Want to clean up property in Stanford? – start with city hall

Published 6:35 am Thursday, April 20, 2017

As the City of Stanford attempts to address property nuisances across the area, a junky old van sits rusting behind city hall – which leaves us with the question, “If the city doesn’t have to comply, why should I?” 

Code enforcement rarely brings a smile to anyone’s face – but it’s necessary. Stanford has a beautiful Main Street and several beautiful streets in between, but at some point you will take a turn and find yourself wondering if you are even in the same city. 

Abandoned buildings and junk cars plague several city streets and despite records of complaints sent to several property owners in the past, the same problems exist years later. 

But those are the results that part-time or “here and there” code enforcement is going to produce. 

Recently, Stanford City Council members have pushed hard for a more even, fair and aggressive approach to code enforcement. Actually, council members were ready to move forward with a new state law last year, one that they believe will give code enforcement the “teeth” it so desperately needs to achieve compliance. 

But at some point, the new committee that the city planned to form was dropped and the discussion tabled. Now, the determined council has brought the issue back to the forefront of discussion and aims to follow through this time on enacting the new state law (HB422). 

We agree with council members Peggy Hester, Ronnie Deatherage and Scottie Ernst who argued last week that if the city wants to enforce code violations, it needs a full-time code enforcement officer to do it right. 

The favoritism alleged during last week’s meeting when it comes to serving nuisance complaints to certain people is an example of why politics and friendships should play no part in code enforcement. The law should simply be applied across the board. 

If Stanford wants to attract new residents, businesses and visitors, then it is going to have to go beyond Main Street. But removing the junked van from behind city hall would be a great start. 

We expect the city to lead by example, which means abiding by the very laws they aim to enforce.