Sec. 30-1. Intent.(a) It is the intent of this chapter to promote, protect and improve the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the city and to provide an equitable, expeditious, effective and inexpensive method of enforcing codes and ordinances in force in the city where a pending or repeat violation exists or continues to exist. This chapter is enacted pursuant to the authority of F. S. ch. 162.
Sec. 30-2. Alternate code enforcement system created.The city creates, pursuant to F.S. ch. 162, an alternate code enforcement system that gives special masters appointed as set forth in articles II and III of this chapter the authority to hold hearings and impose fines, liens and other noncriminal penalties against violators of the city's or county's codes and ordinances.
(b) The jurisdiction of the special masters shall not extend to appeals from or challenges to actions, decisions or interpretations by the building offical, planning director or fire marshal of the codes or ordinances within their jurisdiction, or claims that actions, decisions or interpretations of the City or its officials or employees are unconstitutional. This subsection shall not affect jurisdiction conferred upon the special masters by applicable law, which includes but is not limited to review of notices of violations of the City Code, and applicable building codes, land development regulations and fire codes.
The problem lies not with the Special Master's jurisdiction, but with the fact that administrative interpretations, subject to change, are not found in the Code, and thus the public is not afforded a reasonable opportunity to abide by them, or appeal them, prior to being issued a Code Violation. In some cases, the administrative interpretation might not even be written until after the Code Violation is issued.
However, in this proposed ordinance amendment, the origin of an interpretation is a moot subject. Once an administrative interpretation reaches the Special Master, the City Attorney will argue that a Special Master must abide by any administrative interpretation, regardless of its validity, under newly amended City Code Section 30-73. This "clarification of jurisdiction" ordinance thus grants broad "ambiguous powers of interpretation" to the Building Official, Planning Director, and Fire Marshall to create interpretations that could threaten your property rights. Thus, indemnifying the directors and employees.
For example, if persons, aggrieved by an adjudication of guilt, realize there was no violation of the Land Development Regulations, per se, when they hosted a foreign exchange student in their home for 3 months, and wish to challenge the Planning Director's interpretation, used to issue a Code Violation, the persons aggrieved would have to appeal to the Board of Adjustment.
Section 118-351 - Determination of JurisdictionAll variance requests shall be submitted to the City Attorney for a determination of whether the requested variance or administrative appeal is properly before the Board of Adjustment and whether it constitutes a change or amendment to these land development regulations. The jurisdiction of the Board of Adjustment shall not attach unless and until the Board has before it a written opinion from the City Attorney that the subject matter of the request is properly before the Board. The written recommendations of the Planning and Zoning Director shall be before the Board prior to its consideration of any matter before it. Comments from other departments, including, but not limited to, the public works department and the planning, design and historic preservation division, shall be incorporated into these recommendations.
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