How far can a city go when it comes to code enforcement?

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How far can a city go to ensure neighborhoods and homes are uniform, clean and meet a general community standard?

Richard McDonald, 76, has been fighting back against his city. His two-acre property has a $36,750 lien stemming from dozens of code violations he racked up over the years. Walnut is trying to recoup some of the money it spent trying to address his case.

A city prosecutor charged he and his wife with 279 code violations and both were eventually conviction of 33 of those counts last year. McDonald admits to having had as many as 20 dogs, 15 cars and 200 pigeons on land which sits a top a hill on Camino de Teodoro. The city says neighbors have complained since 2003 about the appearance of the property, the smell and dogs.

At the heart of McDonald’s challenge is differing opinions on property maintenance. He claims that no one has complained about his home since he moved there in 1972. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” said McDonald, who retired in 1993 from 33 years of teaching at Fullerton College.

Do you agree?

For more on McDonald’s story read the rest here.

Email: james.wagner@sgvn.com | Twitter: @jmswgnr @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

  • Anonymous

    I understand the need for basic safety codes but I really think we’ve gone too far with the definition. Its possible in today’s day and age for a city to decide what color your house has to be or what stucco you have on the outside. To me – that is not freedom, this is still America I think.