building and zoning enforcement - january 2022
Building and Zoning Enforcement
Released January 2022
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We undertook this audit because City Council members expressed interest in a performance audit of the Office of Buildings’ Inspections and Enforcement Division. We reviewed the Division’s internal procedures, observed the enforcement process, and analyzed data in Accela to assess whether the Inspections and Enforcement Division met industry and peer city standards, met its performance goals, and complied with internal procedures.
Our recommendations to the Commissioner are to improve building and zoning code enforcement, if the function remains in Planning.
- The Department of City Planning’s Inspections and Enforcement Division uses a decentralized complaint intake method without a mechanism in place to ensure all complaints are captured.
- The Inspections and Enforcement Division has not maintained accurate and reliable data in Accela. Of 4,733 complaints logged between 2017- 2020, 8% lacked an initial inspection date and 50% had blank closed dates.
- Zoning enforcement responsibilities have shifted since 2011 and have not been properly updated or communicated in city code and Planning’s website, which has contributed to confusion.
- Moving the zoning enforcement function from the Inspections and Enforcement Division to Police’s Code Enforcement Section could reduce confusion, improve effectiveness, and align with peer cities.