A warning to North Miami Beach residents: There are tattletales among you with an eye out for code violations.
So if your car is parked on the grass or driveway and not properly maintained, the city’s code-enforcement officers aren’t your only concern.
The city currently averages 23 public complaints a week for code-related issues, and “this is not exclusive to one person, but a variety of sources,” said Eric Wardle, the city’s code-enforcement manager, via email.
While complaints may now be common practice in North Miami Beach, the number that come from resident to resident vary.
Take Cliff Mayhew, who in the fall made some 594 complaints to the city after he was found with violations at his own residence at the northern end of the city, Wardle said.
The violations he was given were for things such as having a vehicle parked on the grass.
He has since sorted out some of his issues with the city after appearing before a code-enforcement board.
He also had complained to the city about other residents with violations.
“He gave us a little booklet with everything in it,” said Wardle, adding that verbal complaints had also been made.
That typed booklet was organized by street and type of violation.
“He put some work into it,” Wardle said.
A majority of the homes that Mayhew filed complaints against were issued notices after an investigation was conducted.
The goal of code enforcement is to get residents to comply with code — not to fine them, Wardle said — and most residents typically respond in a timely manner to the notices.
“We enforce the code; we are not writing violations because someone complains,” Wardle said.
Some residents alluded to Mayhew’s actions at a Feb. 5 council meeting.
“This man has played havoc in our city,” resident Muriel Kemp said at the meeting.
Resident Ron McBride was recently given a notice for a boat improperly parked on his driveway, and he might have been one of the residents Mayhew complained about — although that could not be confirmed.
“I heard that there’s a guy going around just writing stuff down and making complaints, and I don’t think that’s right,” said McBride at the council meeting. “That’s somebody who’s not a certified guy who’s looking out for our city.’”
He said he has since moved his boat to comply with code.
“Everybody has the right to make a complaint,” said city attorney Darcee S. Siegel. “Many complaints we receive come from other property owners.”
Over the summer, former city mayor Myron Rosner promised to send about 20 official-looking letters a week over the next year to residents and to file complaints with the city through a nonprofit group that he ran.
He did this in part because he was upset about his battle with the city over work that the city claims was done to his home without permits.
This included the addition of a driveway over a septic-tank system and a patio enclosure.
“He did it for a couple months, and then he stopped,” Wardle said.
An end to neighbors telling on neighbors isn’t likely to happen. McBride said he won’t be tattling on anyone.
During the meeting, he said that if he or his neighbors take issue with each other’s properties, he trusts they will talk it out.
“I don’t have to go through fines and permits and junk like that,” he said. “That’s ridiculous.”