CODE ENFORCEMENT DIVISION - COMPLAINT PROCESS
The Rules of Procedure for the Gila County Hearing Officer are adopted pursuant to the authority granted to Gila County in A.R.S. 48-3601 through 3628 (Unauthorized Development within the Floodplain); A.R.S. 49-141 (Unhealthy Conditions Causing Environmental Nuisance); A.R.S. 11-268 (Requiring an owner, lessee or occupant of buildings, grounds or lots located in the unincorporated areas of the county to remove rubbish, trash, weeds, filth, debris and dilapidated buildings which constitute a hazard to Public Health and Safety from buildings grounds, lots, contiguous sidewalks, streets and alleys); A.R.S. 11-808 (Establish Civil Penalties for Zoning Violations) and A.R.S. 11-866 which allows A.R.S. 11-808 to be utilized in enforcing Building Codes. The responsibility of the Code Enforcement Division is to enforce the regulations outlined in the Gila County Development Codes.
1) Initial Complaint
Once a signed written complaint is received, it is researched for location, ownership, zoning, floodplain, permits, septic clearance and jurisdiction. Several questions are answered in this phase. Complaints submitted for junk and weeds must contain the complainant's contact information. Anonymous complaints will not be processed.
2) Case Assignment
After the initial complaint is researched, it is assigned to a Code Enforcement Officer by geographic location within the County. Staff consists of two Code Compliance Officers assigned to the Code Enforcement Division.
3) Field Inspections
An initial site inspection is conducted on each complaint, usually within five (5) days of receipt, which validates the violation(s) listed in the complaint. If a violation is observed on the property, the inspector when applicable and possible leaves a copy of the inspection report on site and the investigation continues. If no violation is observed the case is closed.
4) Notice and Order to Comply
If an inspection reveals that a violation exists, the inspector (officer) will prepare a case file comprised of the violation activity and summary of the inspection that was conducted. A thirty (30) day letter and a Summons are prepared and mailed to the property owner with specific instructions to take measures to bring the property into compliance. The property owner is advised that another site inspection will be performed within 30 days, to verify that the violation has been corrected. If an inspection is conducted after 30 days and the inspection reveals that a violation exists, then the hearing date as established earlier will go into effect.
5) Civil Hearings
After a Notice and Order to Comply inspection is made and the property is still in violation, the property owner has already been summoned before the Hearing Officer for a civil hearing. At this hearing, the determination is made as to whether the property is in violation of the Gila County Development Codes. If the property owner is found responsible, a civil sanction or monetary fine may be imposed. The Defendant is sent a copy of the judgment against him. At this point in the process, the Hearing Officer gives the order to the Code Compliance Division to conduct future inspections to verify that the property owner comes into compliance. If the Defendant does not comply, Arizona Revised Statutes authorizes the Gila County Development Code Violation Hearing Officer to impose fines up to $700.00 per day for continuing violation for an individual person and up to $10,000 per violation per day for enterprises.