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 firstname.lastname@example.org.