Code Enforcement 101
Tall grass. Long weeds. Junk cars. Piles of rubbish.
These are examples of the common city code violations the Shakopee Police Department receives on a daily basis. Many violations are unsightly, while others may create a hazard. Code complaints come via Scott County dispatch, the city's online Service Request and phone calls and emails to the police department. We do not take anonymous complaints.
When we receive a complaint, a number of things happen. We:
- Look at the property in question and determine if a violation is occurring. For example, we may receive a complaint of weeds but arrive to find several violations.
- Document the condition of the property with photographs – digital photos have made this much easier!
- Determine who owns the property and who is responsible. It may be a rental, but in most cases, the property owner is responsible for what occurs on his or her property.
Our next step is to give the responsible party a notice or warning. Typically, a written notice is handed to the owner, left on the door or sent via the mail. In some cases, we provide notice to both the tenant and the property owner. We always prefer to have direct contact with the recipient because it helps clarify expectations and provides the opportunity to answer questions.
A property owner is given a window of time to comply or bring the property up to code. (A hazard, for example, is handled more swiftly than something that is simply unsightly.) Some property owners may have multiple or difficult violations to correct. We expect to see progress and are willing to provide more time, as long as the owner is continuing to move forward.
For example, when we encounter a property with long grass or weeds, the city has to give the responsible property notice and seven days to mow or cut down the weeds. If they do not come into compliance, we can send in a crew to mow. The property owner is billed for the work. If he or she does not pay the bill, it is assessed on its property taxes. We see this most often with properties in foreclosure, and no one is taking responsibility to maintain the property.
Most property owners bring their property into compliance within the time frame. Often they did not know they were in violation or may have had a life circumstance that caused them to get behind on general property maintenance.
If a property owner makes no progress, the department may issue a citation. However, the city's No. 1 goal is compliance and a citation does not clean up or change the condition of the property. A citation sends the violation into the court system, and it allows a judge to continue the process, taking the issue out of city control.
If you have questions about the department's code enforcement policy, please email us at police@ShakopeeMN.gov or call 952-233-9400.
- Updated: 08/30/2017