With addition of staff time for enforcement, Prairie Village sees increase in code compliance

Peeling paint is among the codes violations Prairie Village sought to address with the addition of staff time.
Peeling paint is among the codes violations Prairie Village sought to address with the addition of staff time.

Prairie Village has seen increased compliance with its regulations for things like peeling paint and unkempt lawns since the city approved additional staff hours for its codes enforcement department in late 2015.

A report presented to the city council earlier this month showed that with the increase to two full-time code enforcement officers in early 2016, Prairie Village has seen a sharp uptick in the number of code-violation cases proactively initiated by city staff while the number of resident complaints about code violations at neighboring properties has dropped off.

There were only around 100 proactive code violation cases logged in the city in 2014. Last year, the number was nearly 850, showing the degree to which city staff have increased their attention on code issues.

“This is a huge increase from what we saw just a few years ago,” said Assistant City Administrator Jamie Robichaud. ”

Data from the code enforcement department also shows that the average time to close a case — meaning the problem has been addressed — decreased from 59 days in 2014 to 32 day in 2017.

Improperly screened or stored trash containers were the dominant code violation in 2017, making up 54 percent of total cases. The city updated its solid waste ordinance in 2017, including changes to the requirements for screening bins.

Tall weeds and grass was the second most common violation, making up 12 percent of the cases.

The council spent a good deal of time in 2015 reviewing its building maintenance ordinances and developing policies to ensure violations were being enforced consistently.