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City Notes: Code Enforcement helps keep homes and businesses safe

By Jason Weber and Paul Hughes, Charles City Code Enforcement

Happy fall from the Code Enforcement Department. The cooler weather is slowing down some projects around town but making others a priority for contractors and home-owners to get “buttoned up” before the snow flies (again!).

City Notes: Code Enforcement helps keep homes and businesses safe
Jason Webster

Jason Webster — A large part of our work is keeping up with the 939 registered rental units in town. I conduct inspections of about one-third or so of these each year. I am just starting the 357 which are due for inspection this round coming up.

The reason the city enacted the rental registration about 6 years ago is to try to make sure certain safety conditions are met by the landlords to keep our citizens who rent safe.

If you have a rental unit, it must be registered with the city annually before Oct. 31.

One of the items we are adding to the inspection list this year is carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. The state of Iowa recently made it mandatory for all residential houses, not just rental units to install a CO detector.

If you are unsure where to install yours, please stop down and talk with me or call me at the office.

We just recently had an incident in town where lives were saved due to a CO detector alerting the residents of an invisible, odorless killer leaking into their house.

We also handle nuisance properties around the city. So far this year, we served 56 tall grass notices and 68 junk/trash or junk vehicles in the yard notices.

We had 27 properties which we notified of nuisance conditions previous to Spring Cleanup and got them to remediate the conditions. These are included in the approximately 180 notices sent out for nuisance violations. In the winter, we are tasked with serving notices on uncleaned sidewalks.

If you have a nuisance in your neighborhood, you can let us know by calling us or shooting off an email. We appreciate the help and the extra eyes watching out for unfavorable conditions.

We are also working on some abandoned properties throughout town. We are inspecting properties and determining the course of remediation.

City Notes: Code Enforcement helps keep homes and businesses safe
Paul Hughes

Paul Hughes — As is evidenced around town, this last year has been busy for new building and remodeling around the city. We have issued many building permits around the city, in residential areas as well as to businesses.

This is a big positive for our community as a whole as homeowners fix up and maintain properties as well as expanding businesses. Welcome the new businesses in town!

That being said, part of our job is to educate people on what a building permit is and when it is needed.

The permit gives you legal permission to start construction of a building project in accordance with local and state codes. We take quite a few calls from citizens asking when a permit is required.

Your home or business is a large investment. If the construction does not comply with the codes, the value of your investment may be reduced. Some insurance companies may not cover work done without a permit.

The inspection by us also makes sure your work conforms to codes which are put in place to ensure your safety as well as the safety of others who come into your residence or business.

The permit process is simple. Stop in or call our office in City Hall and speak with one of us and we will walk you through the application process. Please contact us in advance of wanting to do the work in case this process requires extra time.

After you have applied, you will get notice if the permit is issued or we may ask for more information on the application.

We are also promoting a pre-work inspection at your job site. We will come out — free of charge — and let you know what permits may be required and codes will have to be followed.

Please do not start work without an approved permit in hand. This may result in fines and fees being added over what is normally charged. It could also result in work being removed or changed to meet code specifications.

So please call if you have a question about anything related to our duties.

We look forward to meeting you and assisting you with your building code needs, nuisances, rental inspections and general questions. Stop in, email us, or give us a call. The number is (641) 257-6331, Fax (641) 257-6331.

Email addresses are Paul Hughes —, and Jason Webster —