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SCHOA wants Sun City code compliance

Posted 5/31/17

By Rusty Bradshaw

Independent Newsmedia

Sun City Home Owners Association officials want to find a way to work with Maricopa County code enforcement personnel to clean up areas behind commercial …

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SCHOA wants Sun City code compliance

By Rusty Bradshaw
Independent Newsmedia

Sun City Home Owners Association officials want to find a way to work with Maricopa County code enforcement personnel to clean up areas behind commercial properties.

The area behind thrift store in the Sun Bowl Plaza on the southwest corner of Peoria and 107th avenues was clogged with discarded items prior to a cleanup after Maricopa County code enforcement officials opened a case on the issue.

The problem exists throughout the community in varying degrees. Jim Powell, SCHOA board member, brought to the agency pictures he took of the areas behind a series of thrift stores in the Sun Bowl Plaza on the southwest corner of West Peoria and North 107th avenues. The area contained a wide variety of discarded items, including mattresses and boxes.

“I sent these pictures to the county code enforcement department and they opened a case,” Mr. Powell said.
However, there may be little county officials can do as county ordinances currently read.

“I was told there is not a whole lot they can do except tell them (businesses) to clean it up,” Mr. Powell said. “There is really no teeth in the county ordinances.”

The trash Mr. Powell photographed was cleaned up within two days of businesses being notified, but in the past other trash collected in the area within days. However, a visual inspection by the Independent May 24 found areas behind three major shopping centers in the community — Sun Bowl Plaza; Greenway Terrace, northwest corner of 99th Avenue and Greenway Road; and Bell Camino, northwest corner of Bell Road and Del Webb Boulevard — clear of debris, except for a broken and discarded entertainment center at Sun Bowl Plaza.

Mr. Powell said some of the items came from the businesses, but the majority of it appears to be items people dump there.

“This has been that way for years,” said Ritchie Miller, SCHOA board member.

Pam Schwartz

While the county may not have existing ordinances to obligate businesses to clean the areas behind their stores, that is something that can be changed, according to Greg Eisert, SCHOA board member and Governmental Affairs Committee chairman.

“There may be no ordinances at this moment, but we can start a conversation with our county supervisors to get some in place,” he said.

Mr. Eisert agreed to be the point man for starting that conversation.

Pam Schwartz, SCHOA board president, wondered if there were other options to discourage trash being left in those areas.

“I wonder if motion lights would be a deterrent,” she said.

If that were undertaken, it would have to be done by the business property owners, according to Tom Wilson, SCHOA compliance manager.

Jim Stark

Neither SCHOA or Maricopa County has enforcement jurisdiction in commercial areas. SCHOA’s focus is on residential areas and the county’s is on public rights-of-way. However, SCHOA officials want to do whatever they can to help keep the entire community clean to help maintain good property values, according to Carole Studdard, SCHOA executive director.

Collecting debt

SCHOA officials remain focused on CC&R compliance from residential property owners.

So far in SCHOA’s fiscal year, compliance officials opened 2,128 violation cases and closed 1,891 of them. In April, SCHOA had 414 cases opened and closed 313 of them.

Tom Wilson

“The more than 100 percent closure rate includes cases that were rolled over from the previous month,” Mr. Wilson said. “So we are getting these things taken care of.”

SCHOA’s progress is also evident in its efforts to collect property owner debt from cost recovery charged by SCHOA. Jim Stark, SCHOA board member and Collections Committee chairman, said there are 12 vacant properties the group is targeting for foreclosure to collect past due debts.

“Our policy is to never foreclose on an occupied property,” he said. “We are now working with the Compliance Department to make sure these are not occupied before we proceed.”

The SCHOA board gave the committee the authority to begin foreclosure proceedings on unoccupied properties without going to the board for a formal vote.

The committee also wants to move forward with collection on 14 property owners who owe SCHOA $1,000 or more.

“We have been fairly successful in getting money,” Mr. Stark said. “When we started this (aggressive collection) there was about $250,000 owed to SCHOA.”

The committee’s efforts are focused on continuing to decrease the outstanding debts from property owners.
“It may seem that we are not getting anywhere, but we have collected some monies, but new property debts get created,” he explained.