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Code enforcement preserves neighborhoods

Updated May 16, 2011

Motorists have a great view when driving through Cerritos, thanks to thousands of residents, business owners, school leaders and church groups who take pride in maintaining their properties. The City's annual City Wide Pride program recognizes these property owners for their efforts and honors those who serve as models for their neighborhoods.

But while the City Wide Pride program happens just once a year, many residents don't realize it is part of an ongoing City effort that started when Cerritos was first built: to preserve property values and the high quality of Cerritos neighborhoods.

In addition to helping plan the City Wide Pride program, three City code enforcement officers respond to more than 3,000 calls from residents each year, patrolling Cerritos streets for health, safety and appearance concerns before the problems contribute to neighborhood decay. Common complaints include inoperable vehicles, trailers and boats stored in front yards; overgrown vegetation that poses a fire hazard; poorly maintained paint or wood siding; aging fences or walls; or trash and debris that is visible from the street.

Problems are addressed in a friendly and understanding way. On receiving a complaint, one of the code enforcement officers will notify the property owner to explain the problem and suggest solutions. The property owner is then given time to take care of the violation, whether it be by moving an inoperable vehicle to the garage, trimming back weeds, repairing a fence, or relocating trash cans and debris.

While most property owners comply after the first notification, those who don't will receive additional notices. Property owners may also appeal their situation to the City's Property Preservation Commission, a citizens' advisory group that will schedule a public hearing to determine whether the owner is violating City codes.

Residents can learn more about the City's property maintenance and appearance guidelines, or about the ongoing code enforcement program, by calling (562) 916-1203.

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