In this week’s ‘You Ask, We Investigate’ report, KNWA’s Katelynn Zoellner spoke with city leaders about city codes in Fayetteville.
We all deserve to live in neighborhoods that are clean and safe. That’s why it’s important for us to take code enforcement seriously. But, it’s also a serious responsibility for a city.
“The responsibility of the city is to enforce local codes,” said Andrew Garner, City Planning Director in Fayetteville. “Those are laws such as not allowing people to have grass that grows really tall or junk cars in their yard.”
Garner said codes deal with a number of things like over-occupancy, old cars and piles of junk in a yard.
“It’s really about just creating good neighborhoods that people feel comfortable living in and feel safe in,” said Garner. “It’s also about maintaining property value. I’ve heard it called the broken window syndrome. It’s very contagious. If you have one issue on a street and something looks really bad, pretty soon other neighbors start to think that they can do the same thing and it can really start to degrade the overall character and quality of life for people who live there.”
When it comes to the number of people who can live in a home in Fayetteville, there is no limit if you are all related. That changes when you live with roommates.
“If everybody is related, there can be an unlimited number of people,” said Garner. “If you are in a single-family district, you can only have three unrelated people. If you’re in a multi-family district, you can have up to four unrelated people.”
Another big code in the city revolves around cars. You can only have four cars parked outside of a home and they have to be parked in an actual parking area.
“If people have hobby cars, those do count towards the maximum number of four cars being outside,” said Garner. “You can’t have cars that don’t operate. If they are junk cars that don’t actually have a current license plate, they can’t be kept outside. They can be kept in a garage for somebody to work on, but they can’t be stored permanently out in the front yard.”
Fayetteville has a complaint based enforcement program. So, if you see an issue, you need to report it.
“If people see an issue, we want to hear from them,” said Garner. “We certainly would appreciate citizens being patient with us. It is very difficult to prove sometimes if it’s a complaint about over-occupancy. Proving whether or not there is a violation, because the city can’t just go inside someone’s house and demand who is living here. So, these are sometimes difficult situations and it can be just very difficult to prove whether there is or there is not a violation.”
If there’s something in your community that you want to know more about, we want to investigate it. You can send your questions to Katelynn at KZoellner@KNWA.com.