The City of Fort Smith municipal codes and ordinances addressed by the Neighborhood Services Division shall apply to all existing residential and nonresidential structures and all existing premises and constitute minimum requirements and standards for premises, structures, equipment and facilities for light, ventilation, space, heating, sanitation, protection from the elements, life safety, safety from fire and other hazards, and for safe and sanitary maintenance. Neighborhood Services also applies the codes and ordinances that address the responsibility of owners, operators and occupants; the occupancy of existing structures and premises, and for administration purposes, the enforcement and penalties contained therein.
The municipal authority to enforce these ordinances is given under Arkansas State Statutes and it is within these statues that due process of law dictates the following:
- Posting notice on the property.
- Sending of certified or registered letters using the owner's address as listed on the County Collectors records.
- Notifying lien holder(s), if any exists, via certified or registered mail.
When a request for service is received in regards to possible violations of the City of Fort Smith codes and ordinances an inspection will be performed to determine if a violation(s) exist.
The subject property will be inspected from areas of public view such as right-of-ways, alleys, public access easements, adjoining properties with permission or on the subject property itself with permission by an occupant and/or owner. If permission to inspect is not granted and reasonable cause can be shown an affidavit may be submitted for an Administrative Search Warrant for the purpose of entering the property to perform the inspection.
If a violation or violations exist, a notice of violation is posted on the property and a copy of the notice is mailed to the owner and/or occupant according to due process of law. The notice and cover letter advises the type of violation(s) and the time frame in which the property is to be brought into compliance. The time frame varies depending on the type of violation. Actions that may be taken also vary depending upon the type of violation. General information on the type of violation and resulting action for non-compliance are as follows:
Environmental Violations 7-Day Warning Notice
*Includes but is not necessarily limited to: Grass & Weeds, Trash & Debris, Dead Trees and/or Dead Limbs, Indoor Appliances, Indoor Furniture, Open Storage, Blind Corners, etc.
If the property remains in violation and is not brought into compliance, a contractor will be hired to abate the violation(s) and all cost and expenses associated with the abatement action will be billed to the property owner. Failure of the owner to pay the bill will result in a lien being placed against the property.
Graffiti Violations 10-Day Warning Notice
Parking Violations7-Day Notice
Property Maintenance Code Violations - A letter of notice of violations is sent to the owner of the property via certified mail outlining the violation(s) that exist. We then work with the owner timewise in bringing the property into compliance depending upon the severity of the violation(s). Failure to bring the property into compliance could result in an Affidavit Fort Criminal Summons being issued by the City Prosecuting Attorney's Office. If a property remains in violation and is in such a shape to require the boarding up or demolition of the structure, a contractor will be hired through a bid process and all cost and expenses associated with the abatement action will be billed to the property owner. Failure of the owner to pay the bill will result in a lien being placed against the property.