Code Compliance

Code Compliance is a division of the Planning Department and is responsible for inspecting and enforcing health and safety codes as well as Sign Permit Application review and processing. The health and safety codes for the most part are located in Chapter 10 of the Norman Code of Ordinances, the sign ordinance is located in Chapter 18 of the Norman Code of Ordinances.  

In addition to enforcing health and safety codes, Code Compliance also enforces sign ordinances, zoning ordinances, and the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC). Code Compliance Inspectors respond to complaints and proactively patrol the city for code violations. If a violation is found, the responsible party is contacted and given a specific time to correct the violation. If the responsible party fails to correct the violation, the City may abate the violation and/or assess penalties as defined by the specific code.

Penalties for failure to comply include, but are not limited to, abatement fees, fines from violations filed in municipal court, and liens filed against the affected property if abatement fees are not paid.

It is the intent of Code Compliance to work with the owner or occupant to achieve compliance and avoid the extra time and expense of punitive action. If full compliance cannot be achieved by the deadline or it is believed that the violation notice is in error in some fashion, the recipient of the notice must contact the inspector to resolve it. Effective communication is the key to achieve compliance because all members of the Code Compliance team are willing to work with anyone that will communicate with us regarding time for completion that may reasonably exceed the initial time provided in the notice of violation. If we do not hear from the recipient of the notice of violation, then the appropriate action will commence at the deadline imposed. In an effort to remove as many barriers to communication as possible, each violation notice mailed out contains the inspector’s email address and direct line telephone number so that communication is possible without restriction. The inspectors spend the majority of their time in the field and are rarely available in the office, thus, effective time management requires an appointment if you wish to meet with the inspector in person. Due to staffing levels, it is best to make an appointment to ensure a staff member is available to meet with you prior to arrival, which is why the telephone, email, and online complaint portal are readily available.

PROACTIVE CODE ENFORCEMENT

The City of Norman has expanded proactive code enforcement citywide to benefit the community. The expansion became effective March 15, 2012. The program focuses on urban areas, but rural residential subdivisions and other non-urban area violations are also subject to proactive enforcement. Previous proactive enforcement was limited to specific residential areas and was very limited. The new program, although focused in urban areas, allows enforcement of violations in all parts of the City in all zoning districts. Proactive code enforcement allows for Code Compliance Inspectors to initiate action on violations when they are discovered instead of waiting for a complaint to be reported. However, complaints will continue to be investigated as they have been historically. Principal complaints that are received in our office are weeds, health, inoperable vehicles, property maintenance, off-street parking on unimproved surfaces, unsecured structures, easement obstructions, signs in the right-of-way, and zoning.

Complaints or inquiries may be submitted to Code Compliance in several ways. Choose the method desired utilizing one of the following options:

405-366-5332 | [email protected] | Online Code Complaint Submissions 

Links to other code-related pages:

Sign Permits 

Common Types of Code Complaints

Weeds

A weeds violation is when vegetative growth exceeds 12” not including trees, shrubs, or vegetable/flower gardens. This would include Poison Ivy, Oak, & Sumac as well as Thistles, all of which are defined by ordinance or state statute as noxious. There are no other types of noxious growth that are lawfully prohibited.

When the City determines that the violation exists, the property owner will be notified via USPS certificate of mailing as well as a posting on the property in violation. The law requires the City to allow a minimum of 10 days from the date of notification to comply, at which time the Inspector will make a re-inspection of the property. If abated by the owner, the file is closed. Otherwise, a work order is prepared and issued to the mowing contractor who abates the violation. An invoice is mailed to the property owner and a lien is placed on the property if the invoice is not paid within 30 days. Additionally, or in lieu of abatement, charges may be filed in municipal court for non-compliance.

Summary Abatement for Weeds Violations:  Any subsequent violations of growth within a six-month period from the date of the original posting may be abated without further notification to the property owner.

Applicable Code: 10-209

Health

A health violation is trash, source of filth, cause of sickness, conditions conducive to the breeding of insects or rodents that may contribute to the transmission of disease, or any other condition that adversely affects the public health. Examples include, but are not limited to, cardboard, trash, household furniture or appliances, clothing, building materials, tree limbs on the ground, stagnant water, etc. Items that are not intended by the manufacturer to be stored outside and exposed to the elements would fall in this category.

When it is determined that a violation exists, the City will notify the property owner by USPS certificate of mailing as well as a posting on the property in violation. The law requires the City to allow a minimum of 10 days from the date of notification to comply. However, when exigent circumstances exist that is a threat to public health or safety, a shorter time to comply is allowed at the discretion of the inspector by city ordinance and state statute. The Inspector will make a re-inspection of the property once the required time to comply has elapsed. If abated by the owner, the file is closed. Otherwise, a work order is prepared and issued to the contractor who abates the violation. An invoice is mailed to the property owner and a lien is placed on the property if the invoice is not paid within 30 days. Additionally, or in lieu of abatement, charges may be filed in municipal court for non-compliance.

Summary Abatement for Health Violations:  Any subsequent violations within a six-month period from the date of the original posting may be abated without further notification to the property owner.

Applicable Code: 10-203

Easement Obstructions

An easement obstruction violation is anything that obstructs a public sidewalk, street, or alley. Overgrown vegetation is the most common type of obstruction. It is required that a 14' clearance height over streets and alleys be maintained to accommodate larger vehicle types and to meet ordinance requirements. The clearance height requirement over sidewalks is 8' to accommodate most of the tallest people and meet ordinance requirements. These requirements do not apply to private sidewalks or private roads because there is no public easement obstruction on a private road.

When it is determined that a violation exists, the City will notify the property owner by USPS certificate of mailing as well as a posting on the property in violation. The law requires the City to allow a minimum of 10 days from the date of notification to comply. The Inspector will make a re-inspection of the property once the required time to comply has elapsed. If abated by the owner, the file is closed. Otherwise, a work order is prepared and issued to a city contractor who abates the violation. An invoice is mailed to the property owner and a lien is placed on the property if the invoice is not paid within 30 days. Additionally, or in lieu of abatement, charges may be filed in municipal court for non-compliance.

Applicable Code: 10-205

Unsecured Structure

An unsecured structure first must be vacant, and also open, unsecured, or is otherwise accessible to the public and/or to animals.

When the City determines that the violation exists, the City will then notify the property owner by USPS certificate of mailing as well as publicly post the property in violation. The law requires the City to allow a minimum of 10 days from the date of notification to comply unless exigent circumstances exist. The Inspector will make a re-inspection of the property once the allotted time has elapsed. If abated by the owner, the file is closed. Otherwise, a work order is prepared and issued to the contractor who secures the structure. The property owner is billed and a lien is placed on the property if the invoice is not paid within 30 days. Additionally, or in lieu of abatement, charges may be filed in municipal court for non-compliance.

Summary Abatement for Unsecured Structures:  Any subsequent violations within a six month period from the date of the original posting may be abated without further notification to the property owner.

Applicable Code: 10-203 (d..)

Inoperable Vehicles

Inoperable vehicles are vehicles that do not run, do not display current tags, have flat tires, on jacks or stands, or in some other obvious state of inoperability or obviously partially or wholly disassembled.

When it is determined that there is a violation, the City will then notify the occupant and/or owner of the property by USPS certificate of mailing as well as a posting on the property or the vehicle in violation. The law requires the City to allow a minimum of 10 days from the date of notification to comply, at which time the Inspector will make a re-inspection of the property. If abated, the file is closed. Otherwise, the vehicle is impounded and/or charges are filed in municipal court.

Applicable Code: 10-202

Off-Street Parking – Parking on an Unimproved Surface

An off-street parking violation is a vehicle parked in a yard on a surface other than asphalt or concrete, except for gravel driveways in place prior to 1967.

When the City determines that a violation exists, the property occupant and/or owner is notified of the violation in one of two ways:

1. A 24 hour notice placed on the property or the offending vehicle, or

2. A letter is mailed to the occupant or owner, allowing between 48 hours and 10 days to comply, depending upon the applicable ordinance requirements.

If the property or a vehicle on the property has been previously warned, or has not complied after being warned, an off-street parking citation is issued to the vehicle, or charges are filed against the occupant or owner of the property. A warning is not required for the first offense, but is provided as a courtesy. Even if it is a different vehicle than the one warned, only one warning is issued per property. If a warning is received, it is up to that person to notify all other occupants or visitors at the property.

Applicable Code: 22-431.7

Property Maintenance – Interior and Exterior of Structures

The International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) has been adopted in Chapter 10 of the City of Norman Code of Ordinances, and is used for this type of violation. Additionally, the IPMC was amended upon adoption to include maintenance of gravel driveways. The language of the adoption of the IPMC and its amendments are accessible using this link: Applicable Ordinance: 10-601. Copies of the currently adopted IPMC by the City of Norman are available at the Pioneer Library.

Exterior Violations

An initial inspection is accomplished by the inspector due to a complaint or by proactive enforcement. If a violation exists, the owner is notified by violation letter via USPS certificate of mailing, and the property is posted. The owner is provided a specific amount of time based on the type of violation in order to make the required repairs, which is generally 60-90 days. If the required repairs are not completed, charges are filed.

Interior Violations

When the City receives a complaint about an interior property maintenance violation, the assigned inspector will set up an appointment with the occupant to make an inspection. If there is reason to believe an interior inspection is required without a current tenant, a notice may be sent to the owner via USPS certificate of mailing, and the property is posted. The owner has ten (10) days from the date of the letter to contact Code Compliance and to schedule an internal inspection. After proper notice, if the owner does not schedule the inspection or refuses to allow the inspection, charges may be filed. If the inspection is scheduled by the owner or allowed by the tenant, an inspection is accomplished and a list of any required repairs are documented and sent to the owner via USPS certificate of mailing. The owner is provided a reasonable amount of time to make the required repairs based on the amount and types of repairs necessary in order to achieve compliance. If the required repairs are not completed, charges may be filed. Interior inspections of owner occupied residential dwellings will only occur with the voluntary cooperation of the owner or agent of the owner.

*Note about mold*:  The awareness of mold in homes has become more prevalent in recent years. Only visible mold is a violation of the IPMC. Neither the city, nor any other governmental agency at any level, currently has any program that regulates or monitors for mold in homes that is not clearly visible. However we would like to provide educational information to assist homeowners and tenants on this issue. A brochure prepared by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency titled " A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home" should be helpful in addressing mold issues. This guide provides information and guidance for homeowners and tenants on how to clean up residential mold and how to prevent mold growth.

Sign Violations

Signs are prohibited in the rights-of-way, sight triangles, and on utility poles. City inspectors remove these illegal signs proactively as time allows and also when complaints are received from the public. Only the Planning Director or his/her designee may approve signs to be placed in the rights-of-way other than authorized traffic control signs. Nearly all signs in Norman require a permit, even when placed on private property, with few exceptions. Temporary banners are allowed as long as a permit has been obtained and the time limits are followed, and they are placed in a legal location on the property and not in the right-of-way. Chapter 18 in the City of Norman’s Code of Ordinances contains the sign code that lists all allowed and prohibited signs, exceptions, and permit requirements.

Sign permit applications are now reviewed and processed by Code Compliance. The Sign Permits page contains more information and applications.

Code Compliance Informational Videos