How do I report code violations?

The preferred method of reporting is through the hotline (423-224-2633) or the online reporting form.

Can I remain anonymous when I report a violation?

Yes. All reports are anonymous.

If reports are anonymous, why am I aked to leave my name and phone number when making a complaint?

In the event that a Codes Enforcement Officer needs additional information, it is helpful to have the report’s contact information. This information is never released to anyone.

How do I know that my complaint is being investigated?

All reports are investigated according to priority, which is determined at the discretion of the Codes Enforcement Officer. All violations found upon inspection will be addresses appropriately.

Can I request a status update from the Codes Enforcement Officer?

The Codes Enforcement Officer does not report back to complainants on the status of complaints. If a complainant requests an update, the Codes Enforcement Officer may provide information if time permits.

Can I expect a callback after I report a violation?

Normally, no. The purpose of the hotline and online reporting methods is to free up the officers to work in the field. Due to the high volume of calls, it is not common practice to return calls unless the investigating officer needs additional information.

Does the Codes Enforcement office address every ordinance violation?

Due to limited resources, the Codes Enforcement office must prioritize and enforce those ordinances that are the most severe or which affect the general public at large. Lesser offenses may not be addressed, especially during seasons of heightened activity, such as with high grass.

What happens after I make my complaint through the hotline or the online complaint form?

The complaint is then forwarded to the Codes Enforcement officer, usually by the following business day.

What happens after the Codes Enforcement officer receives my complaint?

An inspection of the property will be made to determine what violations exist. The Codes Enforcement officer will then address the violation with the property owner.

What is the time limit for a Codes Enforcement officer to respond to a complaint?

There is no specified response time, although most inspections will occur within 3 business days from the time of receipt of the complaint.  Initial response time is also determined by case load and the priority placed on the violation.  In seasons of heightened activity, response times may be longer.

What is the time limit for a violator to comply with the ordinance?

There is no specified time limit per violation. Time limits are given at the discretion of the Codes Enforcement officer upon inspection and investigation of all relevant facts.

What is the protocol that the Codes Enforcement officer follow in addressing violators?

There is no established protocol in place. Notice may be given by phone, mail or in person.  Citations may be issued in lieu of notice at the officer’s discretion.

Who gets a notice on a property code violation?

Owners, tenants, acting agents or anyone having control over a property is responsible for its upkeep and all are subject to notification or citation.

Is notice required prior to citation?

No. The burden for compliance with the law is an ongoing responsibility for a property owner or tenant. Notices are usually given as a courtesy but are not a prerequisite to citation.

Where do I report animal complaints?

Animal complaints should be directed to Animal Control, which operates through the animal shelters or at the direction of Sullivan County Sheriff’s office.

SBK (Sullivan, Bluff City, Kingsport) Animal Control Centers:

(423) 279-2741 (Blountville)

(423) 247-1671 (Kingsport)

Website:

http://www.sbkanimals.org/

Can I report barking dogs?

The city of Kingsport does not have an ordinance that prohibits dogs from barking in residential neighborhoods. These complaints fall under offensive noises or odors, which are Nuisances that are based on subjective opinion.  Therefore, Codes Enforcement does not become involved in these complaints unless they rise to a level that an entire neighborhood, community or the public at large are affected.

Are there mitigating circumstances that may warrant investigation of a barking dog when it is bothersome to only me?

If there are mitigating circumstances, the Codes Enforcement office may become involved.  The reporter must provide evidence to support the allegation in such extreme cases.  Evidence can consist of audio, video, photography or personal documentation over a period of time.

Am I required to provide this evidence or does the Codes Enforcement officer obtain it?

The Codes Enforcement office does not conduct surveillance on properties in an attempt to collect evidence. The burden is on the reporter to support the allegation being made.

How do I deal with a barking dog or other offensive noise or odor if it doesn’t rise to the level of code violation?

These cases must be handled privately among citizens.

Is it illegal to have chickens, roosters and goats in the city?

There are no ordinances that prohibit having chickens, roosters or goats in the city as long as all property maintenance codes are adhered to.

What can I do about crowing roosters?

Crowing roosters fall under the category of Nuisance and should be handled in the same manner as barking dogs.

What if chickens roam through the neighborhood or come into my yard?

The ordinance prohibits all animals from running at large, so chickens are included.

Are there any ordinances pertaining to the number of cats or dogs someone can have?

There are no requirements on the number of cats allowed. No more than 5 adult dogs over One year of age can be kept at any residence, regardless of ownership.

What if there are feral cats in my neighborhood?

Calls concerning feral cats should be directed to the animal shelters or to Animal Control.  Residents are asked not to feed feral cats unless they are willing to assume responsibility for them.

SBK (Sullivan, Bluff City, Kingsport) Animal Control Centers:

(423) 279-2741 (Blountville)

(423) 247-1671 (Kingsport)

Website:

http://www.sbkanimals.org/

What are the rules governing farms in my residential neighborhood?

Due to annexation, there are occasional instances where active farms have been brought into an area that is zoned “Residential.”  Such farming activity is protected by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s “Right to Farm,” and supersedes municipality zoning requirements.  When in doubt, contact Codes Enforcement for clarification on a case-by-case basis.

What happens after a property violation is cured?

The case is closed and no further activity occurs.

Does the Code Enforcement officer follow up on previous violators to ensure they keep the property clean?

The Codes Enforcement officer does not make a practice of continued surveillance of violators to ensure long-term compliance.  However, it is at the discretion of the Codes Enforcement Officer if circumstances warrant ongoing supervision of properties.

Can the city of Kingsport cure properties in violation?

The city of Kingsport can remedy some conditions after a thorough legal process that is both timely and costly. To recover any expenses incurred, liens will be attached to the property.

Why do some properties sit vacant for long periods of time with no activity or intervention by the city?

Properties can be vacant due to deceased owners, foreclosures or other related circumstances in which there are no known owners or responsible parties through which to enforce the ordinances.  Cases such as these require extensive research as well as adherence to legal protocol prior to any action by the city. Following legal procedures can often take months to complete.

Can I go onto a neighboring vacant property and mow it or clean it up?

The city of Kingsport Codes Enforcement cannot require anyone other than the owner or other responsible parties to maintain property.  Anyone who is not contracted by the city of Kingsport to maintain the property of another is acting independently of the city of Kingsport.

Who do I call to pick up a dead animal?

Animal complaints should be directed to Animal Control, which operates through the animal shelters or at the direction of Sullivan County Sheriff’s office.

SBK (Sullivan, Bluff City, Kingsport) Animal Control Centers:

(423) 279-2741 (Blountville)

(423) 247-1671 (Kingsport)

Website:

http://www.sbkanimals.org/

***Please note: SBK is closed on Wednesday and Sunday.***