Delray To Keep Code Enforcement Board

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Staff report

Delray Beach is one of the few municipalities in the county that uses a volunteer code enforcement board to handle adjudicating code violations. And commissioners are keeping it that way.

A proposal to switch to a special magistrate recently failed in a 3-2 vote. Mayor Cary Glickstein and Commissioner Shirley Johnson supported the city staff’s recommending to change to a special magistrate.

“This is the better way of doing code enforcement,” city attorney Max Lohman said. “No municipalities in similar size to Delray use a code board.”

The code enforcement board is a bunch of appointed residents who review code violations. Often the meeting can put neighbor against neighbor and add a human element to the proceedings. A magistrate is a professional who knows the city’s rulebook and enforces the city code.

City attorney Lohman said the political appointees who serve on the code board politicize something that is non-political.

“All good things come to an end,” Commissioner Johnson said. “The city of Delray Beach is growing at leaps and bounds. We need a better system.”

But commissioners Shelly Petrolia and Jim Chard along with Mitch Katz disagreed.

“I think we have a solution that is looking for a problem to solve,” Chard said. “I have heard there is nothing wrong here. It seems like we have had success.”

Members of the code board urged commissioners to keep the board in place.

“The code board is enhanced by the fact that we are members of this community,” code enforcement board member Robert Resnick said. “It is democracy in action. We are in touch with what is going on the community. We hold people accountable.”

City staff said there will be changes happening when it comes to how the city handles code enforcement. Commissioners agreed to implement those changes and revisit the idea of switching to a special magistrate at a later date.