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Code enforcement - Who should I seek to assist with code violations ignored/not enforced by the town?

Smyrna, TN |

My back yard runs into a small industrial factory and they have recently erected a sign on the corner of their lot which shines into and onto my property. Per the code handbook a sign cannot reflect onto or into a residential property. There is nothing that states information on foot candles or measurement for industrial. The city advises the light can be 1 foot candle or lower at my property line which is not stated in the enforcement. The light shines on my yard and in all windows in my house. I have not measured the light but the city says it's less than 1 ft candle which is permitted. (I cannot see how that is the case when it lights up my home but...) I feel this has also violated my privacy and reduced my property value. What steps should I or could I take next?

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

The city, the city planning dept, the city council, the code enforcement division... Stop by City Hall and talk...

This is for general information only. Nothing in this information should be construed as creating an attorney-client relationship nor shall any of this information be construed as providing legal advice. Laws change over time and differ from state to state. These answers are based on California Law.Applicability of the legal principles discussed may differ substantially in individual situations. You should not act upon the information presented herein without consulting an attorney about your particular situation. No attorney-client relationship is established.

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2 comments

Asker

Posted

I have, and I am getting nowhere... hence the statement "The city advises the light can be 1 foot candle or lower at my property line which is not stated in the enforcement" I did find that per zoning, a residentual zone should not have been established but it was anyways. "New residential development is excluded from this district, both to protect residences from an undesirable environment and to ensure the reservation of adequate areas for industrial development. Community facilities which provide needed services to industrial development are permitted."

Asker

Posted

also, the city didn't request a buffer strip to seperate the two zones which is also a requirement.

Posted

Even a Las Vegas sign that is bright, shines. ! ft candle is a very minimal amount. If you want to prove the code is exceeded hire an expert to do the measurement. If you prove the code is not being followed then you can convince the authorities to enforce it.

Overspill is easily corrected

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Posted

You can not force them to enforce their codes. It is within their purview and discretion entirely. There is strength in numbers, so if you can rally other neighbors to put pressure on city hall, it will help. You should consult a local land use attorney. Use the "find a lawyer" tool on AVVO, and your local bar association is a good referral source too.

We do not have an attorney-client relationship. I am not your lawyer. The statements I have made do not constitute legal advice. Any statements I have made are based upon the very limited facts you have presented, and under the premise that you will consult with a local attorney. This is not an attempt to solicit business. This disclaimer is in addition to any disclaimers that this website has made. I am only licensed in California.

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2 comments

Asker

Posted

They do not have to enforce codes? Then what is the point of a planning/zoning commision?

Golnar Sargeant

Golnar Sargeant

Posted

They SHOULD enforce them, but if they are not, there really is no legal mechanism by which you can force them. A local land use attorney would be able to tell you if there is any way you can do that in your jurisdiction. It's the same principle with other government entities such as the DA. Whether or not they want to prosecute a crime is within their discretion. There is no legal mechanism by which you can force them to prosecute if they don't want to. DISCLAIMER: We do not have an attorney-client relationship. I am not your lawyer. The statements I have made do not constitute legal advice. Any statements I have made are based upon the very limited facts you have presented, and under the premise that you will consult with a local attorney. This is not an attempt to solicit business. This disclaimer is in addition to any disclaimers that this website has made. I am only licensed in California.

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