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Maintaining our City in an attractive, clean and safe manner is a job charged to all of us, City employees, citizens and business owners alike. Being aware of our codes and understanding the need to work together in order to maintain them is the most important aspect of preserving our property values and making our community a better place in which to live and work.
To foster an atmosphere of open communication and awareness, the top 10 residential code questions, business code violations and animal control nuisance issues are listed in this forum.
Top 10 Residential Code Questions:
Question: I am having a pool built at my residence, are there any CODE issues I should be aware of?
Answer: Yes, all pools must be maintained in a sanitary condition (City Ord. Sec. 33-103). Pools, or premises surrounding the pool, must be enclosed by a safety barrier (City Ord. Sec. 3.14) such as a screened-in patio, wood or wire fence, and concrete block walls. The height of the safety barrier shall be between four and six feet. All gates shall open outward, be self-closing and self-locking.
Question: I own a business and would like to bring my business vehicle home – what are the requirements?
Answer: First, see (City Ord. Sec. 26-2) for a full list of permitted and prohibited commercial vehicles. Permitted commercial vehicles shall not have more than 2 axles or be greater than 23 feet in length, nor greater than 9.2 feet in height. Permitted commercial vehicles may ONLY be parked on a driveway; in a wholly enclosed garage or structure where no portion or part of said vehicle is visible or protruding from said structure; or any other area constructed and permitted by the building department of the city.
Question: I am planning on buying a recreational vehicle (e.g. Boat, RV), are there any restrictions about parking the vehicle at my residence?
Answer: Yes, you must have the recreational vehicle registered or licensed. Said vehicle must be parked ONLY on a driveway; in a backyard or side yard such that no portion of the vehicle protrudes past, or in front of the facade of the residence. Also, the recreational vehicle shall not exceed 35 feet in length (City Ord. 26-3).
Question: Are gravel driveways permitted?
Answer: No. All off-street parking spaces shall be paved asphalt or constructed of concrete or block and shall have smooth surfaces in good repair. (City Ord. Sec. 40(m).
Question: What is being done with all the vacant houses in my neighborhood?
Answer: Like most cities, the City of Margate has experienced an increased in the number of vacant/abandoned/foreclosed homes. Common violations with these homes range from overgrown grass/landscaping (City Ord. Sec. 22-1), junk/trash (City Ord. Sec. 33-29), and dirty pools (City Ord. Sec. 33-103). All vacant homes are required to register with the city (City Ord. Sec. 40.16). In an effort to gain voluntary compliance, the homeowner/bank is given notice via certified mail of any outstanding violations. They are also notified that if compliance is not achieved, the city has the right to correct the violations and lien the property to recover all costs (City Ord. Sec. 22-2). The process time varies in each case due to multiple factors. Contact the Code Compliance office at 954-972-1232 to check on the status of a vacant home in your neighborhood.
Question: My neighbors grass is very tall and poorly maintained. Are there grass height and yard maintenance regulations in the city?
Answer: Yes, as noted in (City Ord. Sec. 22-1) improved residential property the height of the grass cannot exceed 6 inches. The height of grass on non-residential properties cannot exceed 12 inches.
Question: When can I put my garbage out for collection?
Answer: As noted in (City Ord. Sec. 19-3) trash collections shall be made at least twice weekly by a duly licensed individual, firm or company. No collections shall commence prior to 7:00 a.m. or continue after 7:00 p.m. Placement time of garbage, trash or rubbish shall not be earlier than 5:00 p.m. the evening prior to the scheduled collection date. Trash shall be placed immediately behind the curb line. In the event that there is no curb, it should be placed within the swale area.
Question: I'd like to have a garage sale. Do I need a permit?
Answer: No, a permit is not required to have a garage sale; however there are restrictions on where signs are allowed. One sign is permitted on the site where the sale is taking place. Another sign is permitted off site provided it is not posted in a public right-of-way or on other public property. Signs cannot exceed 3 square feet in size. It is important to remember to remove your signs at the conclusion of the sale.
Question: What is the applicable regulation on temporary storage structures or PODS (portable on-demand trailers)?
Answer: As noted in (City Ord. Sec. 3.20) These are only permitted in front yards on hard surfaces permitted by the Building Dept. The setback must be at least 18 inches from the side property line and 5 feet from the front property line. They may not occupy nor disallow the use of the minimum parking requirements for residential area. In order to be granted a permit, a removal plan with the name, address and phone number of an individual who will remove the temporary structure must be supplied to the Building Dept. An agreement with a trucking company or a company of other means of removal must also be supplied. The structure must be removed within 72 hours if a hurricane warning is in effect. Temporary structures are permitted twice a year only and shall remain a maximum of 15 days per application.
Question: Who is responsible for maintaining the swale areas in residential areas?
Answer: It is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner to maintain the swale area (City Ord. 40.10 and 35-0.3 apply). The swale must be kept free of debris and the grass must be edged and maintained at a height not to exceed 6 inches. Shrubs must be maintained at 24 inches and provide unrestricted visibility at driveways and street intersections. Overhanging tree branches must be pruned to provide 8 feet of vertical clearance above the sidewalk and 14 feet of clearance above the street.
Top 10 Business Code Violations:
Abandoned or inoperative vehicles; storage of vehicles; is hereby declared unlawful and a nuisance to the general public to leave any abandoned or inoperative vehicle, or vehicle without valid registration in the public streets, alleys, or right-of-way or upon any private property (City Ordinance 3.10).
Auto Dealership - Vehicle for Sale Signs
Vehicles offered for sale may have one or more product information forms (i.e.: For Sale Sign, Warranty Certificate or Dealer Sticker) per item of merchandise. Forms may not exceed a total more than two hundred (200) square inches in area (i.e.: size of two 8x10 forms). The forms may not have any type or logos more than one inch in height (City Ordinance 39.9.3).
Attention Getting Devices
Advertising balloons or any windborne advertising or attention getting devices are prohibited (City Ordinance 39.17(2).
Balloons, flags, pennants, streamers, spinners, tinsel, bunting, neon lights or other similar devices shall not be applied to any vehicle, building, structure or strung on wires, or otherwise used on any site (City Ordinance 39.17(33) & 39.9.3).
Banner signs are prohibited, except as a temporary grand opening sign or for approved special events or non-profit sale (City Ordinance 39.17(4).
A grand opening banner is allowed, however, a permit is required from the Local Business Tax Receipt (LBTR) office. A permit will be issued as long as the business has received its LBTR. The permit is good for sixty days and a $75.00 cash bond is required. The bond amount will be returned once the banner has been removed at the expiration of the permit (City Ordinance 39.7.2).
The owners and/or occupants of all buildings located within the city shall subscribe to refuse collection services with a refuse hauling company which has been granted a franchise with the city. Contact Code Compliance for information on which haulers have a franchise agreement with the city (City Ordinance 19-4).
Human signs are allowed, providing they are standing (not seated) on the sidewalk or private property. Human signs shall not be permitted on any public street, public medians or public swale. Human signs are not permitted to be shaken, swung, oscillated, waved, rotated, twirled or thrown.
Human signs shall not be permitted to hold or display any sign that is larger than six square feet. Example: maximum 2x3 feet or 3x2 feet (City Ordinance 39.17(34).
Local Business Tax Receipt
Every business in the city is required to obtain a Local Business Tax Receipt before commencing of any business. Application forms may be obtained from the local business tax office. Any fees associated with the tax receipt may also be paid at the local business tax office (City Ordinance 25-1).
Recreational Vehicles in Commercial Areas
Any type of recreational vehicle may not be parked in any nonresidential zoning district, unless the property where vehicle is parked contains a bona fide business involving the sales, storage or repair of such vehicles (City Ordinance 26-3).
A sign which is tacked, nailed, posted, pasted, glued or otherwise attached to trees, poles, stakes, fences, or other objects with a message appearing thereon are prohibited.
Signs of any type are prohibited from public swales, public medians and public streets (City Ordinance 39.17(13).
In accordance with South Florida Water Management District, the City of Margate adheres to landscape irrigation conservation. Your watering days are determined by your street addresses last number, example 6235 would be an odd number (5). Watering may only be done twice a week and at certain times of the day (see chart below).Restrictions apply to all sources of water – from a utility, a private well or withdrawals from a canal, lake or pond (City Ordinance 39-56). Citations will be issued as follows:
1st = Verbal Warning 2nd = $25.00 3rd = $125.00 4th = $250.00
Fifth or subsequent violations will receive a Notice of Hearing to appear at a Special Magistrate Hearing.
Odd Number Addresses Even Number Addresses
Wednesday & Saturday Thursday & Sunday
Watering between 10:00am & 4:00pm is prohibited on any day.
Top Animal Control and Nuisance Issues 10
Where do I call if I have a problem with an animal?
Answer: For immediate assistance with sick, injured, or stray animals call the police non-emergency line at (954) 764-4357. For general questions, or if you don't need immediate assistance with an animal related call, contact (954) 972-1232. For deceased animals in the roadway call Public Works at (954) 972-8126. For deceased animals on your property call (954) 972-1232.
I have lost my pet, where can I look for it?
Answer: If your dog or cat is picked up by the City of Margate it will be taken to the Broward County Animal Care and Adoption (954) 359-1313. All other types of pets are taken to the South Florida Wildlife Center (954) 524-4302. We also keep a log of lost and found pets. If you’ve lost, or found a pet please call (954) 972-1232.
I have a pet that I can no longer take care of, what are my options?
Answer: You can surrender your pet to any shelter or to the Humane Society. Stray dogs and cats must be taken to Broward County Animal Care and Adoption. If you surrender your dog or cat to the City of Margate it will be taken to Broward County Animal Care and Adoption.
Will the City of Margate remove wildlife from my property?
Answer: No, we do not remove nuisance wildlife. If you have wildlife that is sick or injured you can call the police non- emergency line (954) 764-4357. You can also contact a private trapping company to remove the nuisance wildlife. A City of Margate permit is required to trap wildlife. Wildlife cannot be relocated in Florida. If you trap a wild animal on your property it cannot be released into a wooded area.
What can I do about my neighbors’ animals that are running loose every day?
Answer: All pets must be kept confined to a fenced in yard or confined to a leash. The owner of the animals can be cited for allowing the animals to be running at large (City Ordinance 6-26). You can call the police non-emergency line at (954) 764-4357 to report the incident.
We have problems with feral cats and cats belonging to our neighbors constantly destroying our flower bed. How do we remove them?
Answer: You can trap any cats on your property. The traps must be set on your own property. You can use a city trap or purchase your own trap. The cats must be turned over to Broward County Animal Care and Adoption (954) 359-1313 or contact the City of Margate (954) 764-4357 for pick up. You cannot release the cat in another neighborhood. All trapped animals must be treated humanely.
What can be done about the neighbor’s dog that is constantly barking?
Answer: Dogs do bark from time to time, however, if this is a continuous problem it can be reported by calling the police non-emergency line at (954) 764-4357. The dog owner can be cited for City Ordinance 6-29 (Noisy Animals).
What is the policy for picking up after your dog?
Answer: City Ordinance 6-31 states that you “must” immediately pick up after your dog when in defecates on any public or private property.
My neighbor has a rooster that wakes me up early every morning. Are they allowed to keep a rooster as a pet?
Answer: No. City Ordinance 6-60 states that it is unlawful to maintain, raise or house chickens within the City of Margate.
Can I feed the ducks?
Answer: No, you cannot feed or leave food out for the ducks within the city. City Ordinance 6-63.