As the spring weather waivers back and worth, trying to decide what do do, the Great Bend Sanitarian Department is unwavering in it’s commitment to continue to implement strategies to ensure compliance with City Property Ordinances, City Sanitarian Gregg Vannoster said.
This marks Vannoster’s fourth year in the post. “Several strategies have been implemented, some of which have worked better than others, all to the goal of enforcing the ordinances,” he said.
Over the past three years, the Department has averaged over 1,000 complaints per year. “These complaints come from citizens and other city staff but most were self-initiated by the two full-time members of the Sanitarian Department,” he said.
The goal is for Great Bend properties to reach and maintain the standards set by the city ordinances. A mapping system has been set into place to track inspection activity across the city.
To date, there are areas remaining within the city limits that still have not been observed during the routine “sweep,” he said. but the Sanitarian Department continues to make progress block by block.
The “sweeps” involve one of the two sanitarian staff driving though areas, taking note of all violations that are observed at that time. Once observed, the property owner receives a “courtesy letter” to make them aware of the violation and to give them an opportunity to correct the violations within a set time frame in order to avoid abatement.
Any properties which are not brought into compliance by the property owners are ultimately presented by Vannoster to the City Council for abatement approval.
“Fortunately, the courtesy letters have served their purpose well with many instances of observed violations being brought into compliance before reaching the timeline for presentation to the council,” Vannoster said.
The three primary violations observed on properties are overgrown vegetation, motor vehicle nuisance and accumulation of trash and refuse.
Overgrown vegetation consists of grass and weeds that are at least 12 inches tall but does not include planted ornamental vegetation. The area of responsibility for mowing and trimming a yard extends from the curb line at the street to the center of an alley or utility easement.
A motor vehicle nuisance is any vehicle not currently displaying a current registration plate for that vehicle and/or not in legal operating condition including being up on blocks or jacks.
Accumulation of refuse has the broadest realm of items that constitute a violation, Vannoster said. Items included are tires, vehicle parts, construction and demolition materials, limbs, yard waste, appliances, furniture, aluminum cans and general household trash in and out of bags.
Property owners are encouraged to become pro-active in the management of their properties, he said. “Instead of waiting to receive a letter, they should take an assertive role to monitor their own properties and remedy any violations in regards to the appearance of the property.”
Contact for the Sanitarian Department at 620-793-4150 for more information.