In the last couple of years, I have worked diligently to reach out to citizens and hear their concerns for our community, Chino Valley. I have heard from people one-on-one, sometimes in group meetings, sometimes at a committee level, often at council meetings, and sometimes in targeted community outreach where I make myself available and have no topic or agenda, just schedule time to listen to what people have to say.
One of the items that continues to come up is cleaning up the town. With 64 square miles and one code compliance officer, the town was challenged to keep things tidy. It seemed the biggest complaints were weeds (especially after a big rain), abandoned vehicles and businesses that were storing things outdoors.
To that end, the council decided last year to fund an additional code compliance officer who could help develop a clean-up campaign and provide the additional manpower needed to communicate with our residents, businesses and community organizations as well as perform follow-up work.
The clean-up campaign has begun! And, Chino Valley is looking nice! We have split the campaign into two categories: commercial properties located along Highway 89 and residential properties. We are using two taglines with respect to the campaign.
“Keeping Chino Valley Business Friendly,” is the campaign to clean up commercial properties along Highway 89. The major areas of focus will be weeds, outdoor storage, outdoor sales, screening and car sales. The town will be working on voluntary compliance, attempting to work with the property owners to voluntarily clean up their properties. The compliance officer will try to meet directly with the property owner to explain possible violations, the code compliance process and council’s initiative to clean up our community. Only if the compliance officer is unable to get the property owner to work with him to clean up his property will we begin the compliance and citation process. We want a citation to be the last resort.
The second focus area of compliance is on residential property, titled “Be a Good Neighbor.” On the residential side, the town will be focusing on weeds, trash and debris around residences, inoperable and abandoned vehicles, fencing and exterior maintenance. This campaign will be segregated into eight sections within the town. Compliance officers will send out letters in advance and will leave “Friendly Reminders” as door hangers regarding violations after inspections are made. Again, only as a last resort will we begin the compliance and citation process in effort to gain the compliance requested by our citizens.
This community belongs to all of us and we all have a responsibility to maintain it. We hope this approach with our community is effective and maintains or enhances your community pride. At some point, we would like to see more community involvement when it comes to cleaning up public rights-of-way.
Highway 89, running down the center of town, is under the jurisdiction of the state (ADOT), and representatives have been trying to participate with resources when they can. For instance, in the last year they have worked on repairing and fixing sidewalks along the highway that had buckled or heaved. The roundabouts through town have a tendency to collect silt and other debris because of their curves. After speaking with the folks at ADOT, they have agreed to try and sweep Highway 89 and the roundabouts more frequently. The cleanliness of the town is important to people and businesses who want to relocate here, as well as our current residents.
If you have a code compliance question, complaint, or suggestion, you may call 928-636-4427. QCBN
By Darryl Croft
Darryl Croft is the mayor of Chino Valley.