- Associated Press - Thursday, March 6, 2014

GRETNA, La. (AP) - To fight the eyesores of high grass and safety hazards of abandoned buildings, Jefferson Parish now has a department solely devoted to the task and a new hire to head it.

NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reports (https://bit.ly/1ideRyC) Catherine Toppel has been appointed interim director of the Department of Property Maintenance Zoning/Quality of Life, an office newly separated from the Department of Inspection and Code Enforcement in an effort to speed the sprucing up of problem properties.

“We do expect this will help response to the quality-of-life issues that our residents expect us to deal with,” said chief administrative officer Jennifer Van Vrancken Dwyer. “It should help us be more efficient.”

Monday marked the first day for the new department, and Toppel’s first day on the job, at $82,000 annually. Her appointment is subject to Parish Council approval, perhaps as early as this month.

Council members hear more complaints from residents on code enforcement than with any other department, Councilman-at-large Chris Roberts said. “That’s when the frustration comes in, where residents say, ‘Okay, I’m putting up my house for sale and moving to the north shore. … Maybe it’s time to find greener pastures,” Roberts said. “That’s what we don’t want to see happen.”



Toppel will oversee weed control and the inspection and enforcement of codes regarding private properties.

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Information from: The Times-Picayune, https://www.nola.com

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