Box 1, Folder 1, Document 44

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CITY OF ATLANTA

HOUSING CODE COMPLIANCE PROGRAM
POLICY AND PROCEDURE GUIDE

JANUARY 1, 1965




Mr. Landers
Page Two
October 14, 1966

CITY OF ATLANTA
HOUSING CODE COMPLIANCE PROGRAM
POLICY AND PROCEDURE GUIDE
JANUARY 1, 1965

I. Goals:

A. "MAXIMUM EFFORTS IMMEDIATELY TO SECURE
PUBLIC UNDERSTANDING OF THE GOALS AND
BENEFITS OF THE HOUSING CODE COMPLIANCE
PROGRAM THROUGH USE OF PERSONAL CONTACTS,
PAMPHLETS, PRESS RELEASES AND OTHER PUBLIC
INFORMATION MEDIA,"



Critique

The unfavorable publicity of the newspapers and the constant
delegations from various communities indicate little attention has been
given to this provision. While there has been considerable personal
contact on the part of housing code inspectors, and some handing out
of pamphlets, there have been no press releases issued and little or
no attempt to use other available press media to gain support and

understanding of the Housing Code Compliance Program,

Recommendation
I would recommend that provision be made immediately to

utilize the press media. Some positive steps could include:




Mr. Landers
Page Three
October 14, 1966

Get agreement of newspapers to run weekly court calendar
of code violation cases with names of defendents. Also run

follow-up report on court verdict.

Develop press releases on major Housing Code Division
responsibilities and goals to go to city editors, editorial
writers and other news media representatives who have

shown particular interest in the Housing Code program.

Request WSB-TV to prepare 30 minute documentary on
Housing Code Compliance. City could purchase copies

of the film for showing to clubs and groups.

Develop public service spot announcements for radio and TV
on keeping houses in repair. The Board of Education ETV

station could produce the spots.

B. "MAXIMUM COORDINATION IMMEDIATELY WITH
ALL OTHER PUBLIC AGENCIES WHO WILL BE
AFFECTED BY, AND NEED TO ASSIST IN, THE
CONDUCT AND RESULTS OF THIS PROGRAM,"

Critique

Herein lies the major problem with the Housing Code Compliance


Mr. Landers
Page Four
October 14, 1966

Program. There is a general lack of understanding among City
departments of the goals and responsibilities of the program. An
even bigger problem is lack of proper cooperation among the various
divisions within the Department of Inspections. Some of the key

factors which contribute to inefficiency or confusion are:

Permit values through the years are used as the main

criterion for successful operation of the department.

Subsequently, new construction assumes major importance

and Housing Code Compliance is relegated to a secondary

existence.

The Supervisor of Inspection Service is a line supervisor
and coordinator of all divisions and units except the
Liaison and Architect Divisions. In practice, however,
this official is allowed supervisory authority only over

the Chief Housing Inspector, Codes Compliance Officer
and Rehabilitation Specialist. The result is lack of
cooperation among divisions, improper issuing of permits,

an almost total disregard of use of central records and less






Mr. Landers
Page Five
October 14, 1966

than vigorous prosecution of code violations. Specific

examples of lack of coordination and/or cooperation

include:

(a)

(b)

(c)

There are too many cases where the Godes Compliance
Officer has is sued ordess’ for demolition of an unsound
structure and the permit desk has subsequently issued
permits for repair of the same structures without the
knowledge of the _C aie. Compliance Officersor Housing

Inspector.

Pre-permit inspections are required before issuance

of a permit for rehabilitation of a sub-standard structure.
This is not being followed and permits are being issued
without consideration of the Housing Code Compliance

Program Policy and Procedure Guide.

Electrical Division Inspectors refuse to sign inspection
cards on H using Code Compliance cases, requiring
Housing Code Inspectors to spend considerable waste
motion obtaining required signatures. The Electrical
Division gives only token cooperation to the Housing

Division, The Water Department and Gas Company, on








Mr. Landers
Page Six
October 14, 1966

the other hand, cooperate to the maximum,

(d) The Central Records are not located near the permit
desk so they can be utilized whenever a permit is issued.
The Central Records are maintained strictly as files or
archives and no attempt is made to utilize them for permit

issuance,

Some of these points were touched upon in the Survey Report
"Government of the City of Atlanta, Georgia'' by the Public Administration
Service in 1965. The following quotations are found on page 34 of the

PAS report:

BUILDING AND HOUSING INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT

"IN 1964 ATLANTA TOOK A LOGICAL STEP IN CONSOLIDATING
ITS VARIOUS BUILDING INSPECTION AND EXAMINING FUNCTIONS
INTO A SINGLE DEPARTMENT, FULL IMPLEMENTATION

OF THIS MOVE HAS NOT YET BEEN ACHIEVED AND PROGRESS ,
APPEARS TO BESLOW, FRICTION REPORTEDLY EXISTS
BETWEEN THE FORMERLY INDEPENDENT AGENCIES,
COOPERATION BETWEEN THE HOUSING CODE ENFORCEMENT
SECTION AND THE BUILDING CODE SECTION HAS NOT YET
BEEN FULLY REALIZED, THERE ARE OCCASIONS WHEN

THE HOUSING CODE SECTION CONDEMNS PROPERTY FOR
DEMOLITION OR FOR MAJOR REPAIRS, AND THE CENTRAL
PERMITS SECTION SUBSEQUENTLY ISSUES REPAIR PERMITS








Mr. Landers
Page Seven
October 14, 1966

FOR MINOR OR PARTIAL REPAIRS, INTERNAL
ADMINIS TRATIVE PROCEDURES TO INSURE THE
ENFORCEMENT OF HOUSING CODE INSPECTIONS

ARE DEFICIENT, THERE IS A BACKLOG OF SOME
4,000 NOTICES TO COMPLY WITH THE HOUSING CODE
AND AN AVERAGE OF FEWER THAN 10 CASES WEEKLY
ARE TAKEN TO COURT,

"THE BUILDING DEPARTMENT USES A MULTIPLE

PERMIT CARD FOR STRUCTURES BEING REPAIRED

DUE TO HOUSING CODE ACTIONS, THIS CARD PROVIDES

A RECORDING FOR ALL TYPES OF REPAIRS, WHEN REPAIRS
ARE INSPECTED AND APPROVED, THE INSPECTOR SIGNS
THE MUTLIPLE CARD, WHICH IS POSTED ON THE PROPERTY,
THIS FORM SERVES THE PURPOSE OF INSURING THAT ALL
NECESSARY PERMITS HAVE BEEN ISSUED AND WORK HAS
BEEN SATISFACTORILY ACCOMPLISHED, SOME

INSPECTORS REFUSE TOSIGN THE CARD, IN ADDITION,

THE MULTIPLE PERMIT FORM IS USED ONLY ON REPAIRS
ORDERED BY THE HOUSING DIVISION BUT NOT FOR OTHER
REPAIRS, THEREFORE, SOME REPAIR JOBS HAVE CARDS
WHILE OTHERS DO NOT, THIS SITUATION CREATES
CONFUSION EVEN AMONG THE INSPECTORS,"

Recommendation:

1. Spell out the duties and responsibilities of the Supervisor of
Inspection Services and give this position the authority to coordinate
all Inspection Services as the job title and organization chart imply.
This would include authority to order cooperation among divisions

and changes in procedures of divisions to correct problems.








Mr. Landers
Page Eight
October 14, 1966

Transfer of the Codes Compliance Officer and the Rehabilitation
Specialist to the Housing Division, reporting to the Chief Housing
Code Inspector. These two functions cannot be separated from
the Housing Inspection functions and the coordination of the
Inspectors, Court cases and rehabilitation efforts are vital to

the success of a vigorous housing code enforcement program.

The Central Records Section should be near the Permit Desk to
provide maximum utilization of records in determining whether
or not a permit should be issued. The building records lend
themselves nicely to a computer application and should be

computerized at the earliest possible date.

The work done by the CIP at great expense to the City and

HUD in placing records of every parcel and structure on the

City computer must not be allowed to become outdated and

simply electronic archives. The Building Inspection Department
should be charged with the responsibility for updating computerized

building codes data,

A remote display station should be planned as a part of the
City's new IBM 360 System for ready access by the Permit Desk

from central computer records,








Mr. Landers
Page Nine
October 14, 1966

4, An agressive prosecution policy must be adopted and followed
if we expect to achieve even minimum compliance. The backlog
of pending Housing Code violations will require the services ofa
fulltime prosecutor if the Division is ever to hope to become

current. A fulltime Assistant City Attorney is recommended.




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