County Code Enforcement Bureau issues citations and warnings in Lansdowne

After giving Lansdowne residents weeks to prepare, the Baltimore County Code Enforcement Bureau walked through the neighborhood this week recording violations for a number of infractions.

Adam Whitlock was one of several code enforcement employees patrolling Lansdowne looking for violations of the Baltimore County Code at the request of the Lansdowne Improvement Association.

Whitlock, a fifth-year code enforcement inspector, began his sweep at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Hammonds Ferry Road and continued down to Saratoga Avenue for the first leg of his sweep.

In the four-block span, Whitlock recorded 10 violations. Four residences had grass taller than 12 inches, four had trash, junk or debris on the lawn, one had an untagged vehicle and one had a garage in disrepair.

Once an entire sweep is completed, the code enforcement team sends warnings letting residents know they have three weeks to clean up their property or pay fines for not doing so.

Some violations, such as trash cans without lids, do not have warnings, just $150 citations, said Lionel van Dommelen, the chief of code enforcement.

Whitlock called the violations he found on Fifth Avenue typical and said most of it occurs because people are ignorant of the rules.

Once people do know, he added, the problems disappear.

"The whole system's based around rats. You wouldn't believe what draws rats," Whitlock said, noting the rodents can nest in furniture left outside.

Whitlock even walks down driveways to peer into people's backyards, checking for piles of rubbish because even the most well-maintained front yard could have problems in the back, he said.

"We try to see as much as we can without intruding too much," Whitlock said.

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