Code Enforcement Boards training session is an informative success

NKAPC, the City of Covington, and the Kenton County Joint Code Enforcement Board all contributed to a joint effort recently to provide an important educational opportunity to local code enforcement board officials.

On March 24 continuing education geared towards new and long-term code enforcement board members was held at the NKAPC office. Twenty-four people from ten jurisdictions attended the training. Presenters included; Stacy Tapke, Edmondson Law; Alex Mattingly, City of Covington; and Martin Scribner, AICP, NKAPC deputy director for current planning.

Since enabling legislation was passed in 1996, most municipalities in Kenton County have formed code enforcement boards to help strengthen their city codes and keep zoning enforcement issues out of the courts. Unlike their counterparts on other planning-related boards, members of code enforcement boards are not required by Kentucky Revised Statutes to get a prescribed amount of continuing education, sometimes making it difficult to offer any training at all. This leaves them at a definite legal disadvantage, and could also cause procedural issues. The training was designed to address both of these issues and make sure members know what they can and cannot do as board members.

Topics covered the history and purpose of code enforcement, the creation and organization of code enforcement boards, due process and hearing procedures, and how citations are issued. Legal issues, such as burden of proof, taking evidence, deliberation, decisions of the board and findings of fact, were also discussed.

A mock hearing was held using training attendees as board members and NKAPC staff as property owners and evidence presenters. This exercise demonstrated how an actual hearing should be run and gave a feel for how other boards conduct their hearings. Staff and presenters provided feedback to let the board members know what they were doing correctly and what might be done differently.

A video recording of this training is available to Kenton County and Cold Spring board of adjustment jurisdictions. New board members or members who were unable to attend the training are invited to check out a copy from the NKAPC office.

Feedback from attendees was positive and staff already has several requests to borrow the video or to provide another training opportunity in the near future. Attendee Frank Henn said, “It was interesting to see how other cities structure their hearings, and that the end result appears to be the same. I learned some things I didn’t know and overall found the class helpful and interesting. Job well done.”