TULSA'S code enforcement, complaints and compliments

Friday, September 7th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

More complaints about code enforcement in the city of Tulsa. Problems with neighbors generate calls to the city, and when the city cracks down, the neighbors complain they're being picked on.

News on Six Reporter Emory Bryan says a city councilor wants answers; he’s getting more complaints from people about how the city department of neighborhood inspections does its job. They're the ones who respond to complaints about neighbors with junk cars and tall grass. Some people are happy to see them in their neighborhood. When the city orders someone to clean up their property, they have the backing of city code, and often times the neighbors as well. Delbert Moore, North Tulsa Resident: "that's alright with me, it's fine, clean it up."

After complaints from Delbert Moore, the city ordered a landowner to clean up the overgrown lot across the street. "I think they ought to do it, they ought to be made to do it." The city answers about 20,000 nuisance complaints a year, the problems range from trashy to overgrown lots, filled with appliances or mattresses and abandoned houses that pose a danger. Jeannie McDaniel, Mayor's Office for Neighborhoods: "If everyone did everything they wanted to on their property and ignored zoning and nuisance violations our city wouldn't be the city it is today." But after the notices go up, the property owners sometimes complain the city singled them out, but the city says it's usually the neighbors who turned them in. DeWayne Smith, Tulsa Neighborhood Inspections: "We're primarily a reactive organization, reacting to complaints from people who call in to the mayor's action center."

And though the city has a few extra hands this time of year, they say there hasn't been a crackdown, just more complaints because it's summer. "It's the time of the year, the busy time is March to October that's when we get the bulk of our complaints and when you'll see the bulk of our activity out in the field." And though some complain about the city enforcing the code, others are happy the city is taking care of problems with their neighbors. Delbert Moore: "If they don't do it on their own they ought to be made to do it.”

The complaints about how code enforcement does its job came to the city council, and councilor Roscoe Turner says he's heard plenty. Thursday night he asked the director of neighborhood inspections to answer questions about the attitude of inspectors and how they deal with the public.