Property Maintenance Code Compliance Inspection Program
The City of Thornton adopted the South Thornton Urban Renewal Authority Non-Residential Property Maintenance Code on August 23, 2016. The purpose of the Maintenance Code is to remediate blighted conditions by requiring property owners and tenants to maintain the exterior of the buildings, parking lot, sidewalks, lighting, etc., as well as the interior of the building through the use of the Maintenance Code. The ordinance applies to all properties located within the South Thornton Urban Renewal Area (URA), which covers 282 parcels and 223 buildings. The intent of this program was to conduct inspections of the entire URA to assess the impact of the ordinance and provide an estimate of the cost to remedy all code violations discovered during those inspections.
The ordinance identifies approximately 140 individual inspection elements, not all of which apply to every building or property. In order to efficiently proceed through the inspection process, these elements were organized into 32 broad categories, 17 applying to building exteriors and outdoor areas and 15 applying to building interiors. After further coordination with City staff, inspection elements and criteria were further refined to focus on violations that were not covered by any other existing ordinances or programs. However, any major violations found that fell outside of the focus items, (conditions or items that were “out of the ordinary” and/or not in compliance with other municipal ordinances or codes) were also noted and reported separately, to await further direction from City staff.
In order to facilitate an efficient and comprehensive data gathering process, HR Green inspectors inputted all violations and accompanying data, maps, and photos into a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) database for later use in report compiling as well as to provide a seamless transfer of data to the City.
The project GIS database was set up as an enterprise SQL Server SDE geodatabase. The database fields and domains (“pick-lists”) were developed to accommodate the inspection categories needed to catalog the inspection elements identified by the ordinance. The use of related database tables was employed in database design to allow for multiple inspections of the same assets over time.
A web map for mobile devices was developed that allowed inspectors to enter the location of violations, categorize and record specific information about each violation, and take photographs and link them to the violation locations in the GIS. This mobile web mapping application was designed using ESRI’s Collector for ArcGIS. ESRI ArcGIS Online desktop web maps were also developed to allow inspectors to review data collection progress and add additional violation information from the office.
Each improved property was visited for inspection at least twice. The first full round of inspections covered all building exteriors, parking lots, and other outside areas, and the second full round covered building interiors. Additional visits or inspections were made as requested by property owners, business managers, or City staff.