Cleburne’s City Council is considering adopting property maintenance policies to improve the community’s health and safety.
City Council wants to ensure residents live in safe conditions and protect Cleburne’s growth and prosperity. To achieve this, the City Council is considering adopting the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) that will hold residential and commercial properties to modern standards.
“Cleburnites have a lot of pride in our hometown and the character of our neighborhoods,” Mayor Scott Cain said. “These changes ensure all properties are held to the same standard that fit the image of our Cleburne.”
Compared to other North Texas communities, the city of Cleburne has not had the same level of property maintenance codes. This has led to residents living in hazardous conditions or maintaining properties in ways that negatively impact the health and safety of neighbors and the values of nearby homes and businesses.
These changes introduce policies that many municipalities around the world already enforce and that many residents expect including the parking of vehicles in residential neighborhoods, noxious and invasive plants, and more. Other Texas cities that have adopted the IPMC include Burleson, McKinney, Coppell, Austin, and Waco, to name a few.
The City Council could adopt the codes in November 2018, with implementation beginning Jan. 1, 2019. The City will host public town hall meetings on the evenings of Oct. 25, Oct. 30, and Nov. 1 at 6:30 p.m. at the City Hall to inform the community about the possible changes, receive feedback, and answer questions.
During a strategic planning session, City Council established property maintenance as a high priority. The city understands the conditions of homes have an impact on property values and the community’s potential growth. City staff worked with community members including property owners and managers to study how to improve property maintenance standards and how to develop a more comprehensive program.
The IPMC outlines property maintenance standards that protect public health, safety, and welfare. Code enforcement officials, industry representatives, and design professionals develop and update the international codes. City staff reviewed the international codes and customized them to fit the community while reviewing current policies.
The Rental Housing Ordinance introduces protections to ensure safe and healthy housing is available for renters. It creates a Negligent Property Program for rental properties that fail to correct sub-standard conditions resulting in their accumulation of the three or more documented violations within a twelve month period.
A major component of this effort is voluntary code compliance rather than code enforcement. In order to help community members meet standards, the city has partnered with local non-profit Christmas in Action (CIA) to create the Helping Occupants Prosper Everyday (HOPE) Community Revitalization Program. There are numerous owner-occupied houses in Cleburne exhibiting various stages of decline. This decline has a major impact on the deterioration of the real estate property tax base throughout the city. The HOPE program is structured to assist property owners who face financial or physical challenges and will help to address the redevelopment of existing housing stock in the City while promoting development within the City as a whole.
The city will contribute $50,000 annually to allow Christmas in Action to organize volunteer groups, churches, community leaders, and local businesses to participate in the renovation, clean-up, and construction of homes. CIA has led this effort in Cleburne since 1999.
For more information visit the International Property Maintenance Code webpage on Cleburne.net.