MH code enforcement officer
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Sep 27, 2013 | 6996 views | 12 12 comments | 50 50 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mountain House code enforcement
Mountain House code enforcement officer Cedric Hathorn prepares a reminder notice for an Altamont Village resident on Tuesday, Sept. 24, after finding a boat parked on the street, which violates the community’s master restrictions. Denise Ellen Rizzo/Tracy Press
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MOUNTAIN HOUSE — A friendly reminder to remove a boat parked in the street was left on the doorstep of an Altamont Village residence Tuesday, Sept. 24, after it was discovered by the town’s new code enforcement officer, Cedric Hathorn.

Hathorn was hired four weeks ago by the Mountain House Community Services District Board of Directors, and he is on the hunt for violations of the Mountain House Master Restrictions.

The restrictions outline what residents are permitted to do in the community — from how long a garbage bin can be left outside to the colors a house can be painted.

“We have a big group of dos and don’ts in Mountain House that everyone has agreed to live by,” said Mountain House Development Manager Morgan Groover, who oversees code enforcement.

Although a list of the restrictions is presented to every new homeowner, Hathorn said it has been years since any of them were enforced. He said it’s his job to remind residents what is allowed.

“I want to make sure people know the long-term goal and vision is for Mountain House — a clean, livable, aesthetic and pleasing community that people can be proud of,” he said. “My job is to not necessarily be the bad guy, but kind of inform them that this is ultimately for the better good of the community.”

Each day, Hathorn drives through the town’s four neighborhoods checking for violations. If he finds one, his first step is to make contact with the resident.

“What I want is minimal confrontation and a lot of conversation and dialogue,” he said. “I try to go door to door as frequently as possible and inform them of any type of violation.”

In each case, the resident is given three chances to fix the problem, he said. After the third warning, a citation of $100 to $200 can be issued for each day the violation remains.

As he performs his daily checks, Hathorn has discovered that each Mountain House village has its own set of challenges.

Wicklund has violations for landscaping at vacant houses and parking of inoperable and recreational vehicles, he said. Bethany has multiple RV and boat parking violations. Altamont has a number of inoperable vehicles and landscaping problems. Questa has construction debris and unauthorized modifications, such as widened driveways and fence-line changes.

On Tuesday, Hathorn found overflowing garbage containers in an alleyway in Altamont Village, a home in Wicklund Village painted an unauthorized color — a burnt orange hue — and an overgrowth of vegetation at a vacant house.

“I try to identify what are the priorities for each village,” he said. “I start with Wicklund and move forward to Bethany, Altamont and Questa.”

Groover said the code enforcement office also receives 10 to 20 complaints by voicemail each day.

The key to getting people to follow the rules is to treat them as neighbors, Groover said, which is what the board of directors suggested.

“We don’t want to be seen as police,” he said. “We want them to understand we’re neighbors here, too.”

Hathorn said that because he is the only code enforcement officer, he expects to need some time to achieve full compliance with the master restrictions.

“My goal is to talk to residents and try and find solutions,” he said. “We don’t want them to feel bad, just informed.”

Information about the Mountain House Master Restrictions can be found at the community services district office, 230 S. Sterling Drive, Ste. 100, or online at www.mhcsd.com. Hathorn can be reached at 831-2300, ext. 5606.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or drizzo@tracypress.com.

 
Comments
(12)
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SpikeVFR
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October 02, 2013
This is LONG overdue, the violations I see on a daily basis are numerous. We and others bought here rather than in other places in part for a certain look and feel to the town and villages, enforcement of the CC&R's would go a way towards restoring that look.
mthouseman
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October 03, 2013
Yes, it will help restore the look...if only they would enforce every rule in the CCR's, not just the ones that are convenient. As long as there is selective (yes, I know all about the priority numbering) enforcement, I will continue to say that any enforcement is a farce.
victor_jm
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October 03, 2013
If a man is unwilling to inform his mind of the rules of life, he may be subject to enforcement of a rule by another. Many of us have a general template of what is appropriate or good in community life, but we are in the habit of dismissing our conscience and rationalizing our behavior. Now, enforcement of codes has its price, and, often, the resources to enforce codes are insufficient. To ensure the enforcement of all codes requires citizen participation and the resources to employ workers who might remind ignoramuses, derelicts or rationalizers they are in violation of a code.

We neither have the collective conscience or the public resources to enforce all codes. Why don’t the supposed adults in this community do their homework and aspire to be conscientious citizens.

I know, this interferes with your cognitive sedation.

Some enforcement is better than no enforcement.
connect
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October 01, 2013
What about speeding and reckless driving on the major streets? That's just the top of my list.

Let's get something done about more serious problems here in MH before we ultimately end up nitpicking about someone's choice of flowers or lawn ornament while the rest of the rules go unchecked.

SpikeVFR
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October 02, 2013
speeding and reckless driving would be a police matter, not for the code enforcement officer
mthouseman
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September 29, 2013
I agree the boat needs to be off the street.

I also believe (as the rules state) that the cars need to be in the garage. The garage is not to be used for storage to the extent that cars cannot be parked inside. Neighbors complain that their cars are broken into or stolen...maybe, just maybe they should have parked in their garage and that would have been much less likely to happen.
Macpup
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September 28, 2013
I don't always like the way my neighbors maintain their property, but it's their property. I do not want anyone coming on my property and telling me I can't have my collection of gnomes because it doesn't meet their definition of attractive!

Stepford Wives!
mthouseman
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September 28, 2013
some rules will be enforced

some rules will be ignored

so much for having a set of rules if only some of them apply
victor_jm
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September 29, 2013
If you want to live on an island by yourself, then you may dictate the metaphysics of your existence; otherwise, in the company of other men—in a community—the supposed “rights and freedoms” you think you possess without challenge are more accurately privileges conferred upon you by the collective, contingent on the collective metaphysics by the prevailing majority or those in power who execute the community’s desires.

As a species, we have the potential, the capacity to cognitively actualize ourselves in the company of other men, and great things can be achieved. The discipline of esthetics doesn’t stand alone. I don’t want to live next to a guy whose property is squalid. Now, we aren’t talking about squalor here, but let’s stop pretending we operate without values and everything is relative. There is a reason the boat needs to be off the street.

CJSG
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September 30, 2013
@ victor_jm- We're a nation of individuals, not a collective. Sadly, in this country, we've somehow gotten the idea in our heads that we have the right to tell other people what they can and cannot do with their property. We don't have the right, nor have we ever. If you like your property to look a certain way, that's your business. If you want someone else's property to look a certain way, you can start paying their property taxes. Until then, STFU.
victor_jm
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September 30, 2013
CJSG,

You have decided to interpret the idea of “collectivism” negatively. Your vitriol seems a bit inappropriate. Also, it seems, based on your position, we shouldn’t be paying property taxes, which means, if what you assert is true, then you ought to stop paying your property taxes, because no one has the “right” to impose this levy on you. The fact is, if you truly thought about it more carefully, you might compose a list of ten things people shouldn’t have the right to do on their property. This doesn’t deny a man his freedom, because freedom is responsibility.

I will say it again, but a bit differently: If you want to dictate the conditions of your life without the rules, laws, mandates, regulations, etc. we live by, then find an island and determine your own destiny. Please don’t misread me. I am usually the guy in a room of ten who disagrees with the other nine.

SpikeVFR
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October 02, 2013
Then you should NOT buy a property in an area that has CC&R's, it is simple really. It is your choice, so either buy and live by the rules, or don't buy -- but be an adult and take responsibilities for your actions.


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