Tall grass, abandoned vehicles, and broken gutters swaying in the breeze — they all make ready fodder for complaints to the property standards division of the Metro Codes Department.
Now a movement by the Metro Council could encourage neighborhood beautification with a powerful tool: cash.
Councilwoman Davette Blalock is co-sponsoring a kind of self-policing initiative for neighborhoods. The idea would allow neighborhood associations to request a Metro Codes review, then clean up all the identified problems, and receive cash for coming into compliance.
“The idea is to stop penalizing people for things that they might not have known they were doing wrong,” Blalock said. “You know a lot of people don’t know the latest Codes enforcements. This is just a way to try to educate … and then incentivize to try to make our communities the best that they can be.”
Her bill calls for neighborhoods that pass the inspection to receive $5,000. But the funding would be first come, first served, with a cap on the total that could be spent per council district each year. (A council estimate caps the overall potential spending for one year at $875,000, if all districts were to max out their allotments.)
“We see it all,” Blalock said. “The simple things, like not parking the vehicles on the grass … not letting trees grow out of your gutters … not mowing the grass — this time of the year, we get a lot of those calls.”
In the meantime, Blalock says there’s also a letter headed to homeowners that clearly lists all of the standards that they’re supposed to be mindful of.