Atlanta’s Code Enforcement Commission is scheduled to hold its first meeting at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, July 23, in the old Council Chamber, Atlanta City Hall, 68 Mitchell Street, S.W. The commission will look at best practices in other cities across the country and strategically come up with ways to eradicate code violations in the city.

Atlanta City Councilmembers Joyce Sheperd and Mary Norwood established the commission with the support of fellow councilmembers Keisha Lance Bottoms, Cleta Winslow, Kwanza Hall, Andre Dickens, Felicia Moore, Ivory Lee Young, Jr. and Natalyn Archibong.

“This is the first time in many years that we have committed ourselves to taking a serious, hard look at code enforcement in our city,” Sheperd said. “I’m happy to announce that the Atlanta City Council is able to get an additional $4.6 million for the purpose of cleaning, closing and demolishing derelict structures throughout the city.”

While the Office of Code Compliance is responsible for the inspection and enforcement of residential and commercial properties that violate the Atlanta Housing Code, the Graffiti Ordinance and the Commercial Maintenance and Industrial Code, this commission will be charged with developing more effective ways of reducing the number of repeated code violators and the backlog in citations

Sheperd said there are communities in the city riddled with vacant and unsightly dwellings and other buildings that are subject to conforming to the Atlanta Housing Code. These dwellings and other buildings become potential breeding grounds for criminal activity and blights on the communities in which they are located. It is estimated there is close to $40 million worth of code violations throughout the city.

The 23-member commission will include:

· Mayor or his designee
· City Council President or his designee
· City Council Members: Mary Norwood, Joyce Sheperd and Public Safety and Legal Administration Committee Chair or his/her designee
· City Bureau of Buildings or designee
· City Bureau of Housing or designee
· Atlanta Police Department Section Commander of Code Enforcement
· Chief Judge of Municipal Court or his designee
· City Solicitor or his designee
· City Public Defender or her designee
· City Attorney or her designee
· Chair of the Land Bank Authority or designee
· Commissioner of the Department of Public Works or his designee
· Fulton County Code Enforcement or designee
· Fulton County Health Department or designee
· DeKalb County Tax Assessor or designee
· Fulton County Tax Assessor or designee
· Atlanta Planning and Advisory Board or designee
· Georgia Municipal Association or designee
· The Commissioner of Planning and Development or his designee
· A Representative from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
· Executive Directive Environmental Community Action

The commission will have 12 months to present its final recommendations to the mayor and city council.

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.