Code violations: Stock photo

Code violations: Stock photo

Dallas code compliance officers have been cruising my neighborhood recently. And I think, as I tend to think when I see any official vehicle or uniform, Am I doing something wrong? 

Well, in answer to my question, Dallas City Hall has issued a list of the top offenses when it comes to code, which is enforced, according to city literature, “for the safety, health and welfare of citizens,” by officers, in residential areas, apartment communities and businesses.

1. High weeds or grass — Weeds or grass more than 12 inches high is a violation code. Failure to keep them under control may result in a court citation or a bill for the city’s mowing services.

2.Litter — Homeowners or tenants are responsible for keeping lawns mowed, clipped mulched or cleared and the property free of litter — paper, cardboard, wood, glass, bedding, auto parts, appliances, limbs, etc. The property must be maintained between the curb in front of the house (or if no curb then from the edge of the pavement) to the middle of the alley (or the back property line if there is no alley).

3. Obstruction of alley, sidewalk or street — The occupant or owner is responsible for keeping the street, alley, sidewalk and public grounds clear of obstructions. This includes the trimming of trees, shrubbery and vines which may obstruct any vehicle traveling through an alley, or which may obstruct a sidewalk or street or other public grounds. Additionally, sidewalks must have a height clearance of 8 feet – streets and alleys must have 15 feet of overhead clearance. Take advantage of the city’s Bulky Trash Program by trimming trees and shrubbery to coincide with your legal Bulky Trash Week.

4. Signs in public right-of-way — It is a code violation to post any signs (notices, posters or other paper devices) on a utility pole, lamp post, tree or and public structure. This includes garage sale signs.

5. Bulk trash out too early or includes prohibited items — The city’s once-a-month large item — large limbs, shrubbery, bagged leaves sealed in bags up to 50-gallon capacity, furniture, appliances, mattresses and box springs, etc. — is operated by the city’s sanitation department. The City does not collect debris from construction, demolition or clearing of land unless an additional fee has been paid. Additionally, no dirt, rock or concrete will be removed. No material may be placed out front earlier than the 7 a.m. on Thursday prior to collection week, and must be in place by 7 a.m. the Monday of the pickup week. Violators of the bulky trash ordinance are immediately ticketed.

6. Substandard structures — Property owners are required to keep structures in good repair. Peeling paint, leaking roof, electrical and plumbing problems, holes in the wall, floor and ceiling, and decayed wood are building violations.

7. Junk vehicles — Motor vehicles that are inoperative and/or partially dismantled and have expired license tags or safety stickers are considered junk motor vehicles. Owners of the vehicles and all lien holders will be notified of the violation by certified mail.S hould the owner fail to remove the junk motor vehicle from the property or prove the vehicle operable, the vehicle will be towed and sold for salvage. Owners may store inoperable vehicles in a garage to avoid towing. Please note: Code Compliance only addresses vehicles on private property. If the vehicle is on the street, the Dallas Police Department has jurisdiction. Please report your concern to 311 and Dallas Police Department will respond.

8. Illegal dumping — The improper disposal of waste at any location other than a permitted landfill or facility.

9. Illegal outside storage — A person commits and offense if he/she places outside on a lot, in excess of 24 continuous hours, an item that is not customarily used or stored outside or is not made of material that is resistant to damage or deterioration from exposure to the outside environment. (Unless permitted by zoning and a valid Certificate of Occupancy exists).

10. Graffiti — Defined as any marking, including, but not limited to, any inscription, slogan, drawing, painting, symbol, logo name character, or figure that is made in any manner on tangible property. An owner of any tangible property in the city commits an offense if he/she fails to remove all graffiti from the property that is visible from any public property or right-of-way or from any private property other than the property on which the graffiti exists. Statistics prove that removing graffiti quickly may avoid the graffiti from re-appearing. Owners will be issued a Notice of Violation and a timeframe to remove the graffiti. Failure to remove the graffiti may result in a citation.

To report a negligent neighbor, call 3-1-1. Usually, they start with a warning.


Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Preston Hollow.