Under the administrative direction of the Glen Cove Police Department, Glen Cove’s Code Enforcement division is an important arm of the city’s pro-active approach to public safety. From cracking down on illegal housing to making homeowners accountable for the upkeep of their homes, the code enforcement team provides a valuable service to the Glen Cove community.
“We have seen remarkable changes in the effectiveness of our code enforcement team since the division was aligned with the Police Department two years ago,” said Glen Cove Police Deputy Chief Chris Ortiz. “The success of the Code Enforcement team can be attributed to its proactive approach, the vigilance of Glen Cove residents in reporting potential violations and the support of Mayor Reggie Spinello and the Glen Cove City Attorney’s office.”
According to Deputy City Attorney Kristina Heuser, so far this year the city had achieved 28 illegal housing (or other housing/building code) convictions and assessed a total of $73,000 in fines. Most importantly, the city has rid neighborhoods of the related overcrowding and illegal occupancy conditions that overburden the city’s infrastructure and reduce neighboring property values.
“Illegal housing is a major public safety issue and our approach is to not only go after the landlords but the tenants too,” said Chris Grella, code enforcement/GCPD liaison. “Overcrowded homes can take up the valuable resources of our first responders, not to mention endangering the welfare of neighbors and the impact on the quality of life in our neighborhoods.”
Grella pointed out that the telltale signs of potential overcrowding or illegal housing situations include the number of people coming in and out of homes each day, street parking issues, bedrooms in the attic or cellar, padlocks on room doors and a room’s electrical source coming from an extension cord.
“We had an incident where a fire was started from an extension cord in the attic of a home where a tenant was living illegally,” said Grella. “We were incredibly lucky that no one was hurt or injured and that the fire did not spread to surrounding homes. This situation was one that was completely preventable if the homeowner followed the law.”
While illegal housing is one part of the code enforcement department’s responsibilities, the other part is home violations that can jeopardize the safety of neighbors and create health hazards. From overgrown hedges, trees and grass that can challenge road and traffic visibility to damaged/missing pool fences, garbage put out days before their scheduled pick-up and unregistered vehicles in driveways, the department’s officers are proactively patrolling neighborhoods and responding to residents’ calls.
Since January, code enforcement inspectors have issued notices of violations to 69 homes with 47 homeowners complying to correct the violation within the allotted time. When an owner does not comply with the recommended home improvement, fines are issued or legal action is pursued.
Glen Cove residents are encouraged to call or email the City of Glen Cove’s Code Enforcement at firstname.lastname@example.org or 516-320-7869. The names of all callers are kept confidential and residents can also contact the department anonymously.