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Code officers assist with updated plan

| Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, 8:45 p.m.

Stricter enforcement, more comprehensive policies and progressive redevelopment plans will help Brentwood code officials continue to shape a vision for the borough in 2013.

“We don't want to be the bad guys. That's not what we do,” said Eric Peccon, assistant code enforcement officer. “What we do benefits everyone. We hope people see that.”

Borough council hired Peccon to work with Ralph Costa, code enforcement officer, as a salaried employee in November 2012. Together, they are carrying out long-term strategic plans constructed by borough council, as well daily inspections around the community to preserve Brentwood's architecture while progressing forward.

“I always really cared for Pittsburgh's old industrial heritage,” Peccon said.

Peccone, who grew up in Star Junction, Fayette County, obtained his master of business administration from the University of Pittsburgh when he first started working for Brentwood as an intern in summer 2011, he said. Peccon initially helped the borough establish the Geo Plan, a property management program. The Geo Plan digitally organizes permits, violation letters, complaints and other such things.

“It's a multifaceted program,” Peccon said.

In 2012, Peccon drafted the blighted property and landlord/tenant registration ordinances, initiatives that are part of the 2013 strategic plan, which were approved by borough council in November, he said. The ordinances build upon previous ones by requiring landlords and tenants to register with the borough each year, a property inspection every five years, in-town contact information for those responsible for maintaining each building, as well as giving officials the green light to go after personal assets, instead of liens, when taxes are delinquent or services unpaid.

“It strikes a very nice balance ... that holds everyone accountable,” Peccon said. “We don't want to chase away good landlords.”

Redevelopment also is a priority for Brentwood's code enforcement officers, especially providing aid to those retail businesses and restaurants looking to move to the Route 51 corridor, Peccon said. Partnerships with neighboring municipalities and Economic Development South are making such efforts easier.

“We really do see a light at the end of the tunnel with Route 51,” Peccon said. “Slowly but surely, we're going to get there. Ten to 15 years from now, it's not going to look the same.”

In addition, smaller issues — such as making sure residents have visible numbers on homes, parking issues and garbage being put to the curb too early — are starting to be addressed. Residents and landlords already are seeing more letters in the mail that address code violations.

“We have to keep the peddle to the floor. We have to keep pushing,” Peccon said. “We used to struggle to get people to cut their grass. Now we can move on to other things.”

Laura Van Wert is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5814 or at lvanwert@tribweb.com.

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