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Carlsbad revises nuisance laws

CARLSBAD — The complaint process for public nuisances just got a lot quicker after getting city council’s approval. A nuisance could be anything that poses a health risk to the public, from an old junk car that was dumped on the street to an eyesore in a neighbor’s backyard.

The City Council approved a revision of city laws about public nuisances on Tuesday.

In the past, a nuisance was dealt with by council and could take up to 130 days to handle. The new process will take between 30 and 45 days. The time is drastically cut because council will no longer be responsible for handling the complaints. A code compliance officer will investigate complaints and notify property owners if necessary. The property owner will have 10 days to appeal the complaint to the city manager.

The city is also introducing a smartphone app called “GoRequest” to make it easier for residents to file complaints with the city, which should be up and running by the end of the year, according to Debbie Fountain, Housing and Neighborhood Services director.

Residents will be able to take a picture on their smartphone and upload it straight to the city’s website case management system, GoEnforce. The website allows residents to track what stage their nuisance complaint is in and allows compliance officers to upload information from the field.

Fountain said residents “don’t have to have a middle man that’s taking their complaint and putting that into the system. They can go right into the system and we can provide better customer service.”

The city also approved the hiring of another code compliance officer, doubling the current staff.

The complaints can be about private or public property. The compliance officers will be responsible for finding out whether or not the city code is broken. If it is, the property owner will be financially responsible for fixing the code violation.