Codes enforcement in Red Bank continues slowly but steadily

Codes enforcement in Red Bank continues slowly but steadily

September 21st, 2011 by Emily Crisman in Community Hixson

Codes enforcement is moving at a slower pace in the city of Red Bank since the city removed a dedicated codes enforcement officer from its budget this year.

"When you have somebody full-time doing a job you can do it quicker than somebody doing it part-time," said Tim Thornbury, director of public works for the city of Red Bank. "We have to prioritize and address which [violations] are more important than others. I'm not saying we're not going to get to all of them eventually, but it's a little bit slower process."

He said the city deals with resident complaints relating to housing code enforcement issues first, such as a landlord who does not respond to a tenant's complaints of mold.

"It's more of a safety issue, and for health reasons we approach these first," said Thornbury.

He said these types of cases often take a long time to process without a dedicated officer, as the owner of the property may need to be found if there is no response to attempted verbal contact or a certified letter.

The same process is used for foreclosures and abandoned homes. Red Bank currently has 17 abandoned properties, according to minutes from a recent meeting of the Red Bank Neighborhood Pride Association.

The department next addresses eyesores such as high grass and abandoned cars, Thornbury said.

"Jimmy Mathis and Tim Thornbury are doing an excellent job enforcing codes," said Commissioner Floy Pierce, who is working along with Vice Mayor Greg Jones to update codes. "I'm excited to work with them to help meet the needs of the businesses who will be coming in and new people coming into our city."

The current codes were established in 2009.

"We want to set our codes to fit the needs of new development in the city," said Pierce, who compared Red Bank's proposed changes in codes to those adopted by North Chattanooga during its revitalization. "Some codes you want tighter; some you want relaxed."

As an example, she mentioned lessening the required amount of distance between homes in order to allow the homeowner to add a porch.

Current Red Bank city codes are posted on the city's website. To report a violation of city codes contact Tim Thornbury at 877-1103, ext. 3.