City to beef up municipal code enforcement

By Steve Guntli

The city of Blaine has brought on an additional staff member to ensure Blaine buildings stay up to code.

The city hired Madeline (Maddie) Ottley in February as a community planner. One of her job duties will be ensuring the city’s municipal codes are being followed to the letter. She graduated from Western Washington University with a degree in urban planning and sustainable development, and recently worked as a code enforcement officer for the city of Ferndale.

Ottley is responsible for making sure that the city is up to the standards defined by the municipal code. This involves working with property owners to clear junk, repair or demolish derelict buildings and remove junk vehicles. The city will begin issuing notices to any property owners in violation of city codes over the next few weeks. The city is seeking voluntary compliance, but they are within the rights of the law to impose penalties if property owners fail to address the problem, according to community development director Michael Jones.

“I look at code enforcement as a way to encourage investment in the city,” Jones said. “Cleaning up properties and removing derelict buildings shows that the city government and the citizens care about the community and want to make Blaine the best city it can be.”

Jones also hopes stricter code compliance will encourage growth in the city.

“Imagine an investor looking at nearby derelict buildings and overgrown lots and thinking, ‘Do I want to commit a million dollars here?’” Jones said.

Ottley said she’s looking forward to meeting and working with the community.

Ottley said that while official enforcement action and planning is administered through the city, it is the everyday non-official actions of property owners, renters, business community members and other stakeholders that creates a vibrant and enjoyable place to live and work.

“I hope to contribute to the quality of life here in Blaine,” she said.

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