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Globe City officials stress the importance of municipal codes

Photo by LCGross

Continuing its efforts to create an economically viable future, Globe’s leadership has prioritized implementing policies designed to improve the physical condition of local businesses and residential communities for the safety and benefit of the entire community.

In recent years, efforts to clean up blight and brighten Historic Downtown have had a noticeable effect on the city’s look and feel. Blighted houses have been razed or given makeovers, and new businesses have sprouted up in once-dilapidated buildings on Broad Street and elsewhere around town.

But increased, and now consistent, code enforcement has led to the misconception that Globe is not “business friendly.”

City leaders disagree and say efforts to clean up Globe’s thoroughfares, business district, and residential neighborhoods will help ensure the safety of its residents and the City’s vision for long-term growth.

As the City works to bring its municipal codes into the 21st century and focuses on enforcing them in both business and residential areas, members of City Council have recently experienced a rash of criticism from the public.

“I think people don’t understand, and it’s a shock to them that we are increasing code enforcement throughout our community,” says Globe Mayor Al Gameros. “In the long run, we are the stewards of their taxes and their investments, and we need to do a good job of protecting them.”

Since the creation of the Economic and Community Development Department in 2018, Globe has concentrated on cleaning up blight and creating an inviting atmosphere for future growth.

In order to accomplish that, the City has had to rely on building codes often 20 years out of date. As part of its efforts to lay the groundwork for the future, the City is in the process of updating all of its municipal building and fire codes in order to help increase property values and create a level playing field for all businesses.

“I think it’s really important that you have to have consistency in any kind of government agency,” says Councilman Freddy Rios. “Consistency demonstrates there’s no favoritism, and I think once the business community recognizes that whatever the code may be, everybody has to abide by those same rules.”

At its heart, code enforcement helps protect public health and safety, and also protects the investments of residents and entrepreneurs throughout the greater Globe area.

Codes add to “curb appeal” and business viability, and invite investment in the community.

Adhering to City codes might seem like a burden to businesses and landowners, but overall municipal codes benefit everyone in the community through:

  • Safety: Code enforcement ensures that businesses adhere to safety standards, protecting employees, customers, and the community from potential hazards.
  • Preserving property values: Maintaining property standards through code enforcement helps preserve property values in the area, which can directly impact the value of a business’s assets.
  • Enhancing the community’s image: Well-maintained businesses contribute to a positive image, attracting more customers and potentially increasing revenue.
  • Legal compliance: Compliance with local codes and regulations is crucial to avoid legal issues, fines, and potential business closures.
  • Environmental responsibility: Many codes include environmental regulations, promoting sustainable practices that benefit the environment and, in some cases, may even reduce operational costs.
  • Customer confidence: Customers are more likely to trust and frequent businesses visibly committed to following regulations, ensuring safety and satisfaction.
  • Community engagement: Demonstrating a commitment to code enforcement can foster positive relationships with the community and government, potentially leading to support for business initiatives.
  • Long-term viability: Businesses that adhere to codes are more likely to succeed, as they avoid costly disruptions and penalties.
  • Public health: Codes related to food safety, sanitation, and health standards protect the public and prevent outbreaks of illnesses linked to businesses.

On the other hand, there is risk involved in not following local codes, not the least of which is legal liabilities for the business owner and the City should disaster strike.

“You don’t want somebody putting in a restaurant and having grease fires every other week, because it puts the other businesses in danger,” says Councilman Rios. “If there is a fatality, if there’s a major issue or problem, whether it’s life, limb or property, that’s a lawsuit. And that attorney’s going to go after everybody and anybody at some point in time.”

The City is also required to provide fire and police services, which costs additional taxpayer dollars.

Non-compliance with codes can lead to higher insurance costs, additional safety hazards, damage to the owner’s reputation, and loss of customers. In extreme cases, the business can have its license revoked, which could lead to closure and loss of property value and can have an overall negative impact on the community.

Additionally, given the amount of external funding the City has received for much-needed infrastructure — such as improved parks, sidewalks, and new bridges — non-compliance can limit the City’s access to further government incentives, grants, and other opportunities for expansion.

Modernizing codes will aid the City in seeking new sources of revenue and is vital to maintaining agreements with agencies providing money for completed community improvements.

Given the wide-ranging makeup of the current City Council, including experts on public safety, infrastructure, and disaster management, as well as local business owners, there’s always someone available to help guide citizens through the processes with experience in specific areas.

Councilmember Mike Stapleton, who has served as both council member and as Vice Mayor, has been a business owner in Globe for more than a decade as proprietor of the Copper Hen Bakery & Cafe, located across the street from the Globe Fire Department.

Stapleton says it took 10 months and more than $150,000 to open his restaurant 10 years ago in a building he does not own.

Despite his position on Council, Stapleton must adhere to the same guidelines as any other business owner in Globe. Given the changes in the past few years, he says getting set up and addressing issues is easier now, with a streamlined process and City employees familiar with that process who are willing to help.

“There’s nothing to be discouraged about, because working with the City is a pleasure,” Stapleton says. “Working with our team and getting the process started right at the beginning is certainly not an issue at all. Supporting starting and staying in business is a Council and City priority.”

Stapleton adds that there’s a handy packet available at City Hall that lays out the basics of opening a “brick and mortar” shop. And he says response times have greatly improved when problems arise.

“As an organization, people are more likely to know who you need to talk to and what you need to do,” Stapleton says. “It’s more organized now than before. You can go over to City Hall and ask about it and they’ll steer you in the right direction.”

Given the City’s concerted effort to create a more welcoming atmosphere in Globe, City leaders also see their work as a partnership with the local community.

In order to help business or property owners, the City offers an array of solutions that begin with communication and outreach.

Property or business owners are encouraged to reach out to the City to open a conversation about any code enforcement questions they might have and to educate themselves about the process and the functions of municipal government.

They are also encouraged to meet with code enforcement officials, who can review relevant local building codes, zoning ordinances, and business regulations and explain in more detail what is expected and how to address potential problems that might arise. 

Information about City codes is available at City Hall or on the City of Globe website at www.globeaz.gov.

Residents, property owners, and business owners can also benefit from taking workshops or seminars on code compliance and enforcement. These often allow participants to ask direct questions of experts in local government.

The most important thing local business owners can do is to stay informed and updated on changes and updates to local codes and regulations. They can also participate in the process and get involved, such as by joining local business organizations or the Chamber of Commerce.

Beyond code compliance, maintaining a clean business front and giving consideration to neighboring business can also lead to a better overall atmosphere and good relations with the community.

“I really feel that times are changing in this community, the fabric is changing and we’re getting more buy-in,” Councilman Rios says.

Mayor Gameros emphasizes the community benefits of codes and compliance. “We don’t vote on things that are just beneficial to one individual, one business, or one group of businesses,” Gameros says.

“We need to look at the overall picture and what’s beneficial to everyone.”

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