Frequently Asked Questions: Code Enforcement

We’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions that City staff receives about Code Enforcement. If you have any questions that this Web page doesn’t answer, please feel free to contact us at 361.387-4589 X 130 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

How may I file a complaint?

Complaints may be filed using any of the following methods:

In person: Our office is located at 101 E. MAIN AVE. Office hours are 8 a.m. through 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Telephone: Our telephone number is 361.387-4589 x 130. Anyone wishing to speak with a staff person may call this number between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. If the telephone line is already in use, you may leave your complaint information on the answering machine. Complaints may also be recorded at this same telephone number 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Online: Residents can email complaint to a.zuniga@cityofrobstown.com or fill out the following form:







  • *Required









  • Code Enforcement will notify you with your case number.
    City of Robstown Code Enforcement Office 361.387-4589 Ext. 130

Are complainants required to identify themselves?

Complainants do not have to identify themselves; although if they would like an inspector to contact them regarding the status of the investigation, their name and daytime telephone number are necessary.

What are the enforcement procedures?

When a code violation is reported, we open a complaint and work towards resolving the violation through a process of education, inspection, and notices. Continued violations are followed by progressive enforcement. Each code has its own set of enforcement procedures; however, the process generally follows this sequence:

  • Complaint received and assigned a case number.
  • Inspection conducted; including pictures and verifying non-code compliance.
  • Notice left at residence or sent to violator allowing time for correction. Usually 10 days
  • Re-inspection scheduled for 10 – 12 days after initial inspection.
  • Ordinance Citation issued if violation is not corrected within scheduled time frame.
  • Ordinance Citation filed in Municipal Court of Record.
  • Abate (violation removed by City contractor) and lien placed on property.

What is the difference between Code Enforcement and a Homeowner’s Association?

Code Enforcement agencies are a function of many governments and are in place to ensure compliance with Ordinance requirements and adopted regulations related to land use, zoning, sign standards, public nuisance and health and housing codes.   In the City of Robstown,  a primary objective is to educate Robstown residents and businesses about City Codes and requirements.  Most codes and ordinances apply to every property within the City.  Ultimately, the purpose is to ensure that all neighborhoods and properties are maintained protecting property values, and to promote the health, safety and welfare of all Robstown residents.

Homeowner’s Associations are private organizations that are paid by designated neighborhoods to oversee their particular maintenance standards, as established by written Codes, Covenants and Restrictions (CC&Rs) for the properties within specific neighborhood.  The neighborhoods were designed to be managed by a Homeowner’s Association. Homeowner’s Associations have the right to enforce and assess fines to members in accordance to the Home Owners Association’s Codes, Covenants and Restrictions.   Typically as part of the purchase process, each property owner within these designated neighborhoods signs documents agreeing to the standards that have been established and will abide by any penalties assessed.

A Homeowner’s Association may establish maintenance standards that require a higher standard of upkeep than the City Codes. Neighborhoods that are within Homeowner Association areas are still required to also abide by City Code requirements.

Code Enforcement staff enforce City Ordinances and Code Standards at all properties within the City of Robstown including those properties within a Homeowner’s Association area.  However, a Homeowner’s Associations enforces maintenance standards within their designated neighborhood.  HOA standards can be similar to City Code requirements or more restrictive.  However, if an HOA requirement or standard is less restrictive than the City Code, the City’s Code requirement remains and is required to be met.

How do I know if I have a violation on my Property?

Code Enforcement has many methods of initiating contact. The standard enforcement tool is the “Notice to Comply.”  This is a printed or hand written hard copy document that lists general common violations and detailed required corrective actions to resolve the complaint.  The Code Inspector may add more detailed descriptions of the violation, or describe other violations not listed on the form.  In most cases, Code Inspectors will try to make contact with occupants by knocking on the door or ringing the doorbell.   If there is no answer at the door, the notice is left at the front door.  The same notice may also be mailed to the property in question or the address on file with the county assessor.

Another tool available is a door hanger, referred to as a “Sorry I Missed You.” This door hanger is used when an investigation is required and the violation or problem may not be clearly visible to the Inspector.  The Inspector describes the possible problem on the door hanger. Additionally, the Inspector’s name and phone number will be listed with a request that you call within a specified time.  Because the violation may not be clearly visible, and a complaint has been filed, the Code Inspector needs some method of letting the resident know that a possible violation may be on the property.

What happens if I have a violation?

Once it has a violation has been observed, it is the intent of Code Enforcement to have the resident/property owner come into voluntary compliance. To accomplish this, the resident is normally given 7 to 14 days to take whatever action is requested to correct the problem. The Inspector does have the choice of requesting correction in fewer days. An example of a quicker correction period would be a vehicle parking on and blocking the public sidewalk or a vehicle under repair left unattended on blocks or jack stands etc. There may be a request to correct these types of violations within 24 hours.

On the scheduled compliance date, a follow-up inspection is conducted.  If the violation is still on the property additional informal and formal steps may be used to gain compliance.  For instance, an attempt to contact responsible party may be made in person or via telephone and a “Sorry I Missed You” note or business card may be left at the front door asking the resident to call the Inspector.  It is also possible that a civil court process may be initiated.

What if the property is a rental?

For common violations, Code Enforcement will typically try to gain voluntarily compliance from either the resident of the property or the property owner.  In the event the resident does not voluntarily comply, the  Code Inspector will notify the owner of the property as recorded with the county assessor’s office.  A formal Notice to Comply will be issued to the property owner.

What happens if the property does not come into compliance?

There are times when voluntary compliance is not achieved. When informal and formal efforts fail to get compliance, the Code Inspector will initiate an appropriate progressive enforcement step.  Depending on the violation, this might include issuing a civil citation requiring the responsible party’s appearance in Municipal Court, an administrative or Court Abatement request or a request sent to the prosecutor for a criminal complaint.

What are the legal actions that might be taken?

Legal action can be started in several ways. The common method of legal action is a citation issued to the responsible party.

A longer method, for action to be started is the filing of a long form complaint with the City Prosecutor requesting that the City Prosecutor review the case to determine if there is enough evidence to go forward with issuing criminal charges.  In the event the case proceeds, the responsible party will be issued a subpoena to appear in court. The normal court proceedings will occur.

Ultimately, the registered owner of the property is responsible to maintain the property in compliance.  However, legal actions can be taken against any responsible party including property owners, occupants and property management representatives.

What are the most common violations that occur within the City?

Community and Neighborhood Services receive numerous complaints, covering a wide range of problems. The following is a listing of some of the most common complaints received.

Uncultivated Vegetation, Weeds or Grass in excess of 12″ in height: All premises within the City shall be maintained in a neat and attractive manner. The responsible person of any residence is responsible for maintaining the entire premises, including abutting public ways, up to the curb and up to the center of any abutting alleys free of debris, litter, trash and weeds.  Twelve inches in height is the height standard for any uncontrolled vegetation.

– Fences and gates in disrepair: For the fence to serve its intended purpose, it must be maintained so the fence may screen, protect and secure.

– Right of Way Obstructions: The public streets, sidewalks and alleyways, must have clear accessibility to all who wish to use them. No plant, material, structure, fabrication, or vehicle may block the use of sidewalks or streets. This includes basketball standards, skateboard ramps, etc. Trees and other plant material must be maintained  . Other plant material should not block or obstruct any portion of the public sidewalk.

The property owner is also responsible to ensure that any traffic control or directional sign that abuts their property is not obstructed from view by any plant, material, structure or fabrication.

Green Swimming Pools: Especially with recent health concerns, green pools and ponds will be of special concern. All architectural pools, ponds, basins, fountains or any swimming pool or spa, or any body of water must be maintained and filtered to insure water does not become stagnate and become a health issue.

What can I do if I get a notice and do not understand what the violation is?

Call your inspector. The front lower portion of the notice contains the phone number of the issuing Code Inspector. Code Enforcement encourages you to call, not only if you have received a violation, but to answer any question you may have regarding your neighborhood. Code Enforcement is here to work with you to insure that our community will remain a highly valued place to reside.  If you have further question, please call Code Enforcement at 361.387.4589 x 130.

Frequently Asked Questions: Inspections

What is the Inspections contact information?

Physical Address: 101 E Main St. Robstown, TX 78380

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 872 Robstown, TX 78380

Phone: 361-387-4589 ext. 135

Fax: 361-387-6760

Hours: 8a.m.-5p.m.

Permitting Hours: 8a.m.-1p.m.

 

What is a building permit?

This is a license to legally start construction of a building project.

What projects need building permits?

  • All new building
  • All additions to existing buildings
  • Renovations/alterations: kitchen remodels, siding, strip & reroofing.
  • All building & structures demolitions
  • ·Temporary structures including prefabricated
  • Decks
  • Pools/Spas
  • Fireplaces

Other construction activities that need mechanical permits:

  • Additions & alterations to electrical systems
  • Additions & alterations to plumbing systems
  • Additions & alterations to HVAC (heating, ventilating & conditioning)

What projects need a Variance permit?

Sheds & Carports

What is the purpose of permits?

Permits allow the enforcement of the codes, which have been adopted by the State, County and Township. The enforcement of the codes is carried out to protect the public health, safety and welfare.

Why are permits used?

Permits are valuable tool needed to provide a vital step in enforcement of codes. Permits ensure code compliance, also that your property is protected and that your value is maintained. It also provides as communication for understanding the codes and laws of the community. Permits also insure that minimum standards are met and proper materials are used.

What is the building permit process?

  • Meet your building department staff
  • Submit building permit application
  • Wait for permit review process
  • Receive results of permit review process
  • Receive building permit
  • Request and receive inspection results
  • Receive all final approvals
  • Obtain Certificate of Occupancy (permission to utilize the building) or Certificate of Completion

Do I need a permit?

This is one of the most common questions we receive at the City of Robstown Building Division. A homeowner or property owner thinking about remodeling, adding a small addition, converting a garage, adding a gazebo to the backyard, replacing siding, or reroofing; the answer is “yes.”

Why are there building codes and building permits?

Quite simply, building codes, including codes on structural, electrical, plumbing, mechanical, and other components of your home are in place to help ensure your safety.

The codes set a number of standards, all are intended to help builders, homeowners, and the communities have safe and secure buildings. Building permits are your legal permission to proceed with the project, as well as your agreement or contractor’s agreement to do the work in compliance with current codes. A house may be around for a hundred years, and there may be many owners, the Building Division wants to ensure the home is safe for many generations.

When do I need a permit?

The City of Robstown Building Division requires a permit any time an owner intends to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish, or change the occupancy of a building or structure, or to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert, or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical, or plumbing system.

What are the benefits?

Let’s say you want to add a few extra electrical outlets in the garage, and a mistake is made during the installation that later causes a fire.

Is your insurance company going to cover the cost of a fire caused by illegal electrical work? One of the major benefits of obtaining a permit is having technical resources at your side, the certified building inspectors and plans examiners. They can answer questions, provide guidance before you start your project, and save you time, money, and frustration.

When is a permit not required?

Cosmetic work, such as minor repair work or redecorating does not require a permit. This includes replacing cabinets, replacing floor covering, painting and decorating, repairing sheetrock (interior walls only), replacing small areas of siding (if you are not also making structural alterations), replacing plumbing fixtures (if you are not altering the plumbing system), and replacing light fixtures and appliances (if you are not altering or replacing wiring). If you are not sure, the Building Division staff will be happy to answer your questions. Also, be sure to check on whether other permits might be required even if a building permit is not, such as a Certificate of Design Compliance for properties located in the historic district or central business district.

Is there a fee?

Yes. The fees vary and are based on the value of the project. Again, please call us and we can give you an approximate cost over the phone.

What will I need to get a permit?

That depends on the nature of the project. For example, you will need to submit a site plan, structural drawings (if applicable), and any other documents as required by the Building Division. You can call us, use our web site or come by and explain your project to us and we can go from there. Additional detail can be found on the City’s application checklists.

Frequently Asked Questions: Robstown Police Department

Obtaining Police Reports

Copies of police reports can be obtained in person or by sending a written request.

In person:

Reports can be obtained Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If you request your report in person, you will need to have the Offense case number, location/ date of incident and know the parties involved. (These request are free of charge)  The processing of our request can take five minutes to an hour.

Written Request

If submitting a written request, please contact the Records Section.

  • A search request can be mailed, faxed or emailed to openrecords@robstown-pd.us
  • Include the report number(s), date, location of incident, and involved parties.
  • Once the request has been completed, please submit it
  • Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

Requests are processed on a daily basis. Your request should be mailed to:

Robstown Police Department
Attn: Records
PO Box 626
430 E Main St
Robstown, Texas 78380

Records Public Hours of Operation

5 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Monday through Friday

Traffic Accident Reports

All Accident Reports usually take 3-4 business days for processing after the day of the accident.  Once the Officer has completed the report all requests will be taken care of by our Records Clerk.

In person:

Reports can be obtained Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If you request your report in person, you will need to have the Offense case number, location/ date of accident and know the parties involved. (NO cash will be accepted Money Order only)  The processing of our request can take five minutes to an hour.

Fees:

$6.00 Money Order per traffic accident report, made out to Robstown Police Department

Calling 911 for Assistance

We can’t help you, if we can’t find you!

Learn to use 911 correctly

Knowing how to obtain emergency services can make the difference between life and death. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about 911 usage.

911 should be used to call for police, fire or medical “emergency” help. Emergency means that life or death hands in the balance.

Dialing 911 from a Cell Phone

When dialing 911 from a cellular phone, you must first identify where you are (i.e., exact address or location). 911 calls placed from a cell phones are routed to the closest 911 operations center based on cell site location closest to the caller.  Although technology has made advances in getting cellular phones calls to the appropriate police/fire agency, the process is not 100 percent accurate.

911 Misdials

If you misdial 911, stay on the line and talk to the Dispatcher.  Explain that you misdialed and that everything is OK. If the Dispatcher calls you back, do not hang up. This will generate a police response. The intent of the response is to check your residence and make sure that everything is OK and that no life-threatening circumstances exist. It is important also to teach children when to use 911 and that misdialing and calling 911 when there is no emergency takes the Dispatcher away from a real emergency.

911 is a valuable resource that must be protected to ensure that when life hangs in the balance, police, fire and medical emergency services can be obtained.

Police, Fire and non-emergency response: 361-387-3531. The Robstown Police Department answers all non-emergency call to include, loud music complaints, reports of not in progress crimes, traffic complaints, etc.

General Information

Neither 911, nor 361-387-3531, should be used to obtain general information about city services or as the city directory. For city information, call Robstown City Hall at 361-387-4589 and follow the directory instructions.

Case follow-up, questions concerning reports, messages for officers, and requests that do not require an immediate officer response, should be phone in using our non-emergency phone number. (361-387-3531)

Frequently Asked Questions: Robstown Fire Department

How do I obtain a fire report?

Fire reports can be requested over the telephone, 361 387 2522, and fax 361 387 3462 or e-mail,  rfd@cityofrobstown.com. You will need to provide the following information: Your name, phone number, date of loss and address where incident occurred. Upon locating  the report, an open records request form will have to be filled out. Form can be obtained at fire department office or via e-mail.

How can I obtain a vehicle fire report?

To obtain a vehicle fire report, please call 361 387 2522. You will need to furnish the following:

Your name, phone number, date of loss, and address where fire occurred. Upon locating report you will be asked to present proof of ownership with either vehicle insurance with name on form or a current vehicle registration for that vehicle. If unable to provide that information, a request will have to be completed through our Legal Department with request sent to City Secretary’s Office.

How do I schedule a fire inspection and or testing of fire protection system?

You will need to call 361 387 2522 to schedule an inspection of plans review. All applicable permits will need to be payed prior to scheduling at the City Inspectors Office, 361 387 4589 ex. 135. The fire department requires a 24 to 48 hour notice for scheduling inspections /tests.

How do I submit fire alarm, automatic sprinkler, paint booth plans for review?

All plans must be submitted through City Inspections Department, 361 387 4589 ex. 135. No testing or reviews will be scheduled until all permits have been paid and plans submitted.

How do I schedule a presentation, Fire Prevention, Fire Safety, Fire Truck?

Please call 361 387 2522. You will need to leave your name, telephone number, date and time, and a brief description of requested presentation.

How do I report a fire code complaint?

Please call 361 387 2522.

Frequently Asked Questions: EMS

I didn’t call for EMS will I still be charged?

The person calling EMS does not receive the bill; the person being treated receives the bill and is the responsible party.

I was involved in an accident; can you bill the person responsible?

We do not bill third parties.

How do I request a copy of my bill and medical record?

Contact our Custodian of Records at 361-933-5211.

What are the current billing rates for ambulance services?

As of May 2016:

The rates for EMS transport are:
Basic Life Support (BLS) Emergency – $550
Advanced Life Support (ALS1) Emergency – $700
Advanced Life Support (ALS2) Emergency – $800
Mileage (per loaded mile) – $10

The rates for EMS no-transport are:
NO TREAT/NO TRANSPORTS – $75.00
TREAT/NO TRANSPORTS – $150.00

Is my patient information confidential?

Yes, all HIPPA laws are strictly followed.

Frequently Asked Questions: Health Department

How often are food establishments inspected?

State guidelines require one per year.  However, the city Health Dept. does them 2 times per year.  This does not include complaint inspections or follow-ups.

Does the Health Dept. provide Foster/Adoption Inspections?

Yes, Foster/Adoption inspections are performed by the Health Dept., must call in to schedule an appointment.

When does the Health Dept conduct Food Handlers classes?

We must have a minimum of 10 participants in order to conduct a food handlers class.  We also place participants on  a waiting list. Persons are placed on this list until we have enough participants to hold a class.

What do we need to do to open up a Food Establishment?

A.) You need to fill out Certificate of Occupancy application with the Inspections Department

B.)  Upon Approval, Building Official needs to inspect location/building.

C.)  Fire Marshal needs to approve and inspect location/building also.

D.)  Final Inspection comes from Health Director, only after Building Official and Fire Marshall have

finalized  Certificate of Occupancy.

E.)  All permits and licenses must be paid before commencing operations

When does city spray for mosquitoes?

When does city spray for mosquitoes?  This process also requires several steps and factors.  All state, federal, and city guidelines must be followed before we can start spraying for mosquitoes such as:

  • Mosquito landing counts
  • weather conditions must be right( wind, rain, events, etc.)
  • no daytime spraying only after dawn
  • only city owned properties and right -of-ways can be sprayed
  • no spraying in private properties, (schools, churches, residences, etc.)

Frequently Asked Questions: Swimming Pool and Parks 

What is the entrance fee for the Public?

$1.00 per person – Tuesday thru Thursday
$1.50 per person- Friday thru Sunday

What are the dates and hours for the Public?

Tuesday thru Sunday from 1-4pm

How much does it cost to rent the pool?

$145 for a 2 hour block and $290.00 for a 4 hour block

What are the dates and hours for the pool parties?

Tuesday thru Sunday 5:30pm to 7:30pm for 2 hour block
Tuesday thru Sunday 8:30pm to 10:30pm for 2 hour block
Tuesday thru Sunday 5:30pm to 9:30pm for the 4 hour block

When is the pool closed?

Closed on Monday

Can the date be saved for the rental of the pool and be paid for at a later date?

No, payment has to be paid in full in order to reserve the pool.

What about if it rains do I get a refund?

If it is thundering and lightening the pool manager will cancel the party and you will receive your refund.

If it is raining you can cancel and re-schedule at a later date or request for the refund

How much does it cost to rent the pavilions at the parks?

No charge but customer needs to go to city hall and request the pavilion.

Frequently Asked Questions: Garbage

What are the dates of service for garbage?

Twice a week – Monday and Thursday for residents South of Main St

Tuesday and Friday for residents North of Main St

Toter/garbage can has to be placed by curbside by 7:00am on day of service

What if toter is damaged (ex. lids, wheels)?

Tuesday thru Sunday from 1-4pm

What can be put inside of toter?

What can be put inside of toter?

Why was toter/garbage can not picked up?

Why was toter/garbage can not picked up?

Frequently Asked Questions: Brush

What are the dates for brush service?

The city is divided into four (4) zones and Rules and guidelines are as follows:

Zone 1 – 1st Monday of the month residents are to place brush on curbside for service from 1st street to the west (W. Ave. B,C,D,E, F etc) and from Main to Mainer

Zone 2 – 2nd Monday of the month residents are to place brush on curbside for service from 1st street to the east (E. Ave. B,C,D,E,F etc) and from Main to Whitewing

Zone 3 – 3rd Monday of the month residents are to place brush on curbside for service in the Casa Blanca Area

Zone 4 – 4th Monday of the month residents are to place brush on curbside for service South of Industrial Ave. (Magnolia, Heinshon, Wright etc)

What other items does the city pick up besides brush?

City will pick up mattresses, boxspring, old furniture, carpet

What items does the city not pick up?

City will NOT pick up cement, paint, batteries and tires.

What are the residents to do to dispose of the tires?

Residents need to properly dispose of tires at the landfill.  They can call El Centro Landfill.

Frequently Asked Questions: Streets

Does the city repair entrances to driveways?

Yes, supervisor will assess repairs needed and will schedule for repairs.

Does the city repair shoulders?

Yes, supervisor will assess repairs needed and will schedule for repairs.

Does the city mow right of ways due to high weeds and grass?

Does the city mow right of ways due to high weeds and grass?

Does the city maintain and replace stop signs?

Yes stop sign will be replaced if faded, has graffiti and is missing or down (caused by a car accident)

Does the city repair pot holes?

City’s main goal is to repair each and every pot hole to prevent damage to not only the streets but to prevent damages to the residents vehicles.