America the Messy Yard Police State
Mesa issues code violation citations to owner of Fiesta VillageFirst of all I am 100 percent against all these silly "messy yard laws" or in this case "messy business laws". But it sounds like Mesa is selectively enforcing the messy yard law in this case. The messy yard violations probably have existed for almost 2 years, why is Mesa just now writing them messy yard tickets?
The real solution is to declare all these silly "messy yard" laws unconstitutional and stop enforcing them.
Mesa issues code violation citations to owner of Fiesta Village
Posted: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 5:11 pm
Garin Groff, Tribune
Mesa has issued code violation citations to the owner of the empty Fiesta Village shopping center after its owner has refused multiple requests to clean up the high-profile property.
The city gave the W.M. Grace Co. an ultimatum earlier this month to remove graffiti, repair buildings, tear down blighted signs, move a chain link fence and more. But the only thing Grace did was remove weeds, said Christine Zielonka, the development and sustainability director.
Fiesta Village has become the most difficult property Mesa has tried to clean up, she said.
"It's a blight on the community," Zielonka said. "It's a problem for the whole area."
Phoenix-based Grace is aware it faced the citations and knows the city mailed them on Tuesday, Zielonka said. She wouldn't speculate why the company hasn't kept the property up to city codes. A Grace representative did not respond to an e-mail for comment on Tuesday.
The city has spent a considerable amount of time on the issue, Zielonka said. Grace had meetings with Mayor Scott Smith two years ago, City Manager Chris Brady a year ago and several meetings with other city officials in recent months.
The center is in the district of Councilman Dennis Kavanaugh, who has been vocal in pushing for Grace to clean the property. The center's condition is often the first thing constituents ask him about, Kavanaugh said.
Grace blasted Kavanaugh for being so public, calling him a "media glory hound" in an e-mail to the city. He said he couldn't guess why Grace would allow itself to face fines rather than respond to years of requests.
"They can't be unaware of what the issues are," he said. "I'm just puzzled."
Mesa had offered to clean up the property at city expense and put a lien on Fiesta Village to eventually recover taxpayer money. That would have included removing large monument signs, which were allowed under less restrictive regulations than are in place today. The company believes they are grandfathered, Zielonka said, but Mesa considers them illegal after whatever they are promoting has been closed for more than six months. The center has been closed two years.
Grace threatened to sue if Mesa cleaned the property, which is at the northwest corner of Southern Avenue and Alma School Road.
"They would not grant us access to go in and remove the signs," Zielonka said. "So clearly, the city isn't going to go on private property without an access agreement."
Grace got three citations, for not maintaining signs, having illegal signs and not performing various kinds of property maintenance. Each citation could carry a $2,500 fine. Grace will have 10 days to admit to the problems or contest the citations and get a hearing with the city.
Mesa could take the issue to court if it issues a citation on the same issue three times in 36 months. Jail time is possible, Zielonka said, adding she's not aware of that ever happening in Mesa.
The city is in talks with Grace for long-term and short-term redevelopment plans. The discussions have been cordial. Zielonka said, even as the major issues have gone unresolved.
"I'd be hard pressed to think of a site that is more problematic at this point," she said.
Mesa issues citations over empty shopping center
Nov. 16, 2010 07:15 PM
MESA - Mesa has issued code violation citations to the owner of the empty Fiesta Village shopping center.
The city says the owner has refused multiple requests to clean up the property, which has been closed for two years.
Mesa gave the W.M. Grace Co. an ultimatum earlier this month to remove graffiti, repair buildings, tear down blighted signs, move a chain link fence and more. But city officials say the only thing Grace did was remove weeds.
The East Valley Tribune says Mesa had offered to clean up the property at city expense and put a lien on Fiesta Village to eventually recover taxpayer money.
Officials with Phoenix-based Grace didn't immediately respond Tuesday for comment on the citations.