Understand the Code
The key is communication! When a public nuisance or other code violation exists, City Marshal Staff is generally willing to work with responsible parties to achieve correction, with cooperation, rather than enforcement, as our ultimate goal.
Communication is essential and code compliance is vital in promoting a safe, healthy, and prosperous community!
- What is “the code”?
The City of El Reno has adopted ordinances, or codes, that among other things, promote and protect the health, safety and welfare of persons and property within the community. Many of these protective duties are the oversight and responsibility of the Code Enforcement Office, also known as the City Marshal Service, a division of the El Reno Police Department.
The City Marshal Service staff receives and investigates complaints, then makes a determination if a public nuisance, zoning, license, permit, or other regulatory violation exists. When such violations are found, a variety of measures may be taken by the City Marshal Service or by various other departments within the city to assure correction.
- What is considered a violation?
The City’s Municipal Codes, Ordinances, Zoning code, building and trade codes, and other regulations define the violations frequently addressed by the City Marshal Service. As a general rule, violations must have an impact on the adjacent neighborhood or the community as a whole. The following reflect some of the most common complaints received.
High Weeds/Grass and/or Trash
High weeds/grass constitutes a violation of City Ordinance 264-5 (IPMC-302.4) which states, “All premises and exterior property shall be maintained free from weeds or plant growth in excess of ten inches (10”). Weeds shall be defined as all grasses, annual plants and vegetation, other than trees or shrubs provided; however, this term shall not include cultivated flowers and gardens.”
“Trash” constitutes a violation of City Ordinance 264-5 (IPMC-307.1) which states, “All exterior property and premises and the interior of every structure, shall be free from an accumulation of rubbish or garbage.” Trash shall include refuse, litter, ashes, leaves, debris, paper, combustible materials, rubbish, waste, or other matter, which is uncared for, discarded, or abandoned.
Abandoned/Inoperative Vehicles, Furniture, Appliances and Materials on Residential Property
Constitute a violation of City Ordinance 264.2. For the purpose of this section, an abandoned motor vehicle is defined to be one that is in a state of disrepair and incapable of being moved under its own power or a vehicle that does not have affixed thereto a license tag; and, abandoned furniture that is exposed to the elements but that is not weatherproof by design.
In addition, City Ordinance 264-5 (IPMC-302.8) states, “…no inoperative or unlicensed motor vehicle shall be parked, kept or stored on any premises, and no vehicle shall at any time be in a state of major disassembly, disrepair, or in the process of being stripped or dismantled.”
Unsecured or Dilapidated Structures
Unsecured or dilapidated structures may constitute a violation of 264-5, (IPMC-301.1 thru 301.18.3), and/or 275.119.O. Simply put, any vacated buildings shall have all outer doors firmly locked, and basement, cellar, and first-story windows boarded or secured to prevent entry.
Structures that by their state of damage, decay or prolonged vacancy present a hazard to occupants or the public’s health, safety or welfare may be considered dilapidated and subject to demolition and removal.
Yard Cars and Recreational Vehicles
Located in a residentially zoned area must comply with regulations found in City Ordinance 361.15.A (2) and/or 3116.16.G.
Vehicles shall be parked on a paved or sealed surface that encompasses the entire width and length of the vehicle. Vehicles are prohibited from parking on grass or dirt surfaces.
Recreational vehicles (boats, trailers, motor homes, etc.) must be parked or stored in side or rear yards where available. Under no circumstances may sidewalks be blocked.
- How can you help?
Help Wanted: The City Marshal Services Division has limited staff for code enforcement. Responsible citizens are encouraged to serve their eyes and ears. If you see a public nuisance condition in your neighborhood — report it. All reports are logged into the City’s database and will be investigated. Reporting parties can remain anonymous.
Don’t Go It Alone: Public nuisances can result from all sorts of circumstances. People with public nuisances on their property can become agitated if approached about them. Stay safe, and let the City Marshal Service staff address these matters.
- How to make a complaint
Complaints can be made by telephone at any time by calling (405) 262-2000. If the telephone is not answered by an employee, or if it is after regular business hours, messages can be left by voicemail. Callers may remain anonymous. You can also file a formal complaint online. Emergency or animal violations can be made through the El Reno Police Department by calling 405-262-6941.
Complaints can also be made in person at the City Municipal Building annex, 101 N Choctaw.
Please include a specific address or accurate directions to the violation property when making a complaint and/or a contact number for requesting additional information.
Also, remember ugliness is not a public nuisance. Neighbors who paint their houses in distasteful colors or display unusual yard ornaments are not public nuisance violators. Also, subdivision covenants are enforceable as a civil matter by property owners with the subdivision and are not public nuisances enforceable by the City.
- What happens after the complaint?
City Marshal Services staff promptly investigate all complaints within our jurisdiction. Complaints outside of our jurisdiction are referred to the appropriate City agency or department.
If a violation is determined to exist, several measures may be taken depending upon severity. If the violation is minor and corrective action can be completed easily, the property owner may only receive a verbal notification or a “Courtesy Code Violation Notice” door hanger may also be left. This is not a citation or legal notice, but rather an informal notice explaining the problem and seeking correction – usually within a week’s time.
For intermediate and more serious violations, it may result in an issuance of an official Notice of Violation giving the party a “limited” time to make corrections to avoid fines and other related costs.
When violations are not corrected within established time frames, or in instances of continuing violations, parties may be issued a Municipal Court citation and each day the violation continues may constitute a separate offense. A separate civil action to abate the violation may also ensure, with the cost of the abatement placed on the responsibility of the violator.
In instances where an inoperable vehicle constitutes a violation, a “Tow Notice” may be placed on the vehicle necessitating its removal or proper storage within an allotted time. Vehicles remaining after that time has expired may be assigned to a towing company for towing and impoundment at the expense of the owner.
In the event it is determined that no violation exists, the complaint is filed as unfounded. City Marshal Service staff, at its discretion, may notify the property owner that a complaint was received, but that the situation did not constitute a violation.
- Where can you get the code?
The City of El Reno City Ordinances is available online at the City’s website under City Codes and Ordinances. Questions or clarifications can also be made by calling 405-262-2000 during normal business hours.
In addition, the City has adopted and follows the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC), as updated.