The Code Enforcement Process
There are four Neighborhood Improvement Officers for the City of Joplin. Each officer is tasked with covering one-fourth of the City's residences. This equates to each officer inspecting approximately 8 sq. miles of land consisting of about 7,000 parcels and 4500 structures in each quadrant of the city.
If you can imagine, this is a large task, and the goal is to inspect each parcel/property four times a year. Here is how the process works:
Step 1. Routine Inspections & Citizen Concerns
Neighborhood Improvement Officers conduct routine inspections in every neighborhood in Joplin. While routine inspections are the primary way violations are found, citizens can also report potential violations by notifying Neighborhood Services in one of the following ways:
- Phone: 417-624-0820 x518
- Web: Request Tracker
All citizen requests are inspected within 48 hours of receipt.
Step 2. Notify Property Owner and/or Tenant of Violation
If an officer observes a violation during a routine inspection or through a report from a fellow citizen, we notify the owner and tenant (if there is one) in one of three ways:
- A personal visit with the occupant if they are home
- A door hanger making them aware of the violation
- A letter to the owner and tenant
Because a letter is the only legal means of communication, the Division will usually employ this method of notification, although the other two methods are used when appropriate.
Step 3. Work with Property Owner/Tenant to Resolve Violation
The property is then re-inspected between 3 and 20 business days later, depending on the violation. If the violation continues to exist, the Neighborhood Improvement Officer does everything in their power (making personal contact, phone calls, and a final notice) to make sure the occupant is aware that a violation needs to be corrected.
Step 4. Take Property Owner/Tenant to Municipal Court
If the owner/tenant fails to work with the Neighborhood Improvement Officer, a final notice is posted to the door of the property, a citation is written, and a summons is issued so that the occupant must appear in court. This is considered a criminal charge. The judge may grant the defendant more time to correct the issue, issue a fine, or give the City permission to hire a contractor to correct the code violation.
This, as you might imagine, is a long process. Depending on the violation it can take between 10-45 days or longer before the violation is finally resolved.
Below is a list of the five most common violations we deal with in a year.
- Tall grass and weeds (Section 54-61): about 2,500 cases per year
- Refuse, garbage, and trash (Section 54-35:9,10): about 600 cases per year
- Limb and brush piles (Section 122-52 & 54): about 400 cases per year
- Outside Storage of furniture or appliances (Section 54-35:18): about 200 cases per year
- Inoperable or un-tagged vehicles (Section 54-35:22): about 150 cases per year
For a layman's handbook of common code violations, view the "Understanding City Codes Handbook".
View a fully searchable enumeration of Joplin City Codes.
How You Can Help
There are several ways you can be active in your neighborhood
The most common violations are depicted in this educational flyer.
If you believe there might be a violation in your neighborhood, Report it, and we'll investigate.
Be patient. We try to respect the property owner's right to take care of his/her property, and sometimes that can be difficult for everyone involved. We also allow due process rights to give people reasonable time to address their concerns without having to take them to court, which no one really wants to see.