By Anthony Saude
Chino Hills – The city council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers to consider a new ordinance that would go into effect immediately because of the recent increase of marijuana grow houses in Chino Hills.
Chino Hills’ building official will be given the right to disconnect service utilities and remove water meters on marijuana grow houses with code violations, if an urgency ordinance is approved by the Chino Hills city council on Tuesday.
When a grow house is discovered a red tag is placed on it because of potential health and safety concerns. The red tag isn’t supposed to be removed until all required repairs, to bring the home up to code before it is released back to the owner for occupancy.
Without the ordinance in place a home owner can obtain a permit for the restoration of the house, once the permit is issued the red tag is removed but the house isn’t approved for occupancy until the repairs are made. What has been happening is that the person who was issued the permit is never heard from again. At that point they or somebody moves in and occupy’s the residence illegally.
The red tag may only be removed when a permit has been issued for the restoration that requires the owner to retain a qualified environmental consultant who must provide the city with an assessment report before restoration can begin.
That regulation isn’t being adhered to on far too many occasions and the process needs to be upgraded to allow a more efficient way to police this problem. Officials are disturbed by this inefficiency because houses used to grow marijuana can contain hazardous conditions such as structural problems, chemical contamination, mold, and electrical tampering.
The ordinance would give the city at least some level of control over when a marijuana grow house can is occupied. According to the language of the ordinance, the building official would be permitted to lock off the water at the same time the house is red tagged, when the house is typically empty.
Once the assessment report is approved, the city will release the water to allow the contractor to enter and begin the restoration process.