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I am sorry to learn of this situation. While I do not understand how asserting your right to reply to an administrative hearing is "taking advantage of the system" (that is your right, and the purpose of the hearing), it does appear that you are not receiving sufficient notice (primarily to correct the violation prior to being referred to the Board). With regard to the mailing, the notice is insufficient - a mailing of notice that is not acknowledged (signed for) cannot be considered a default until 30 days have passed, your notice for 12 days before a hearing is insufficient.
You do have a right to appeal any decision by the board on the facts presented to the Board (and most importantly in these matters - the procedure used by the Board in conducting its hearing, insufficient notice alone is grounds to overturn a decision such as this).
I am certain you already have the code section, but here it is again:
162.11 Appeals.—An aggrieved party, including the local governing body, may appeal a final administrative order of an enforcement board to the circuit court. Such an appeal shall not be a hearing de novo but shall be limited to appellate review of the record created before the enforcement board. An appeal shall be filed within 30 days of the execution of the order to be appealed.
Thank you very much for your reply. That is what I had figured. It gets worse: the code inspector, after the harassing phone call, went to the property to check for compliance (this was mainly a tall grass/bushes issue for a vacant property). When he was there he defeated a 6-foot gate to the backyard, then went around back and defeated a lock on a storage room door. He then filed a new complaint that the storage room was unpermitted!
The board has already levied a fine of $150 per day for the previous alleged violations. I think they are taking advantage of out-of-state owners.
Thanks again for your help. Have a great day!
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