Washington County Code Enforcement

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For years folks living in unincorporated Washington County didn't have to worry about strong code enforcement laws or even what would happen if they violated them, abandoned trailers, rusted cars and anything else that most people would call junk. It doesn't look good and it could be dangerous.

Washington County's code enforcement board has placed a lien on the owners' property, but that may not be enough to solve the problem.

Jim Ackerman says, "Our methods right now are not secure enough to help with the enforcement of the code."

Chairman of the code enforcement board Jim Ackermen wants the county to adopt the same citation method that the city of Chipley currently uses.

If a person if found to be in violation the city has the right to issue a criminal citation, and if the problem is not corrected the property owner then sees the judge.

County residents complain the current system is trash.

"A lot of them have liens placed on them, but with homestead exemption, there is not a lot we can do about forcing them to actually clean up their property."

The board began a petition drive Thursday to get county commissioners to adopt the citation method. Many feel changes would be for the better.

Toby Hodges says, "We've seen it work real well in the city of Chipley. I believe it's going to do some good for the county."

Buford trammel's disagrees.

Buford says, "I don't think it right. I think it's against a person's civil rights for them to do that."

He's already had his run-in with the code enforcement board.

"They said they got a lien against the property. You can't sell it unless you make that lien."

That may be the least of his problems. If county commissioners decide to go with the citation method, one man's junk might be criminal.

The county is holding a workshop on Thursday, October 22 at 5 p.m. to discuss the possible changes with code enforcement procedures. The workshop is open to the public.