During an update to the Planning Commission on Thursday, Turlock Fire Marshal and Director of Neighborhood Services Mark Gomez relayed a conversation he had with the owner of the company contracted by the City of Turlock to provide abatement services. The company owner, who was coming from Fresno, said he drove through town on his way to City Hall to sign the contract and was worried he would have no work to perform as Turlock was a very clean city.
Gomez said he was delighted to hear the comment because it means he and the city staff whose job it is to keep Turlock looking good were on the right track.
"A lot of effort is going on to keep Turlock a very clean city," said Gomez.
Although the Neighborhood Services department works hard to educate the public on the Turlock Municipal Code, there are still hundreds of graffiti tags that need to be painted over each month and illegal signs to be removed.
"We still have a big hill to climb until we're all happy with how the city looks," said Gomez.
There are a number of areas that have improved from July 2015 to July 2016 when it comes to code enforcement, according to a comparison chart Gomez presented to the Planning Commission on Thursday.
There were far fewer notices issued for abandoned vehicles on private property in July 2016 (25) than in July 2015 (73) and for unsightly weeds/grass with 109 notices issued in 2015 and only 84 in 2016.
Wayward shopping carts were also way down with 93 reported in July 2015 and only 9 reported in July 2016.
The Neighborhood Services Department also saw a decline in graffiti needed to be painted over from 449 incidents in July 2015 to 200 in July 2016.
One issue that continues to blight the City of Turlock is illegal signs. The Neighborhood Services Department removed 206 illegal signs in July 2016, down slightly from the 272 they removed in July 2015.
Gomez said the Neighborhood Services Department is focusing on the removal of signs that are in the public right-of-way, such as those posted on utility poles and street medians. As the City of Turlock is still working on updating its Sign Ordinance, other illegal signs — such as flag signs and human sign spinners — are dealt with on a complaint basis.
In August, the Planning Commission approved an update to the Sign Standards for Retail Uses and Freestanding Signs that are based on a blend of what is currently used by the Monte Vista Crossings and Countryside Plaza, two successful sign programs already adopted in Turlock.
An updated comprehensive sign ordinance is expected to go before the Planning Commission by the end of the year.
In August, the Planning Commission also approved significant changes to the noise ordinance including adding amplified sound limits. A new standard for bass vibration, measured using the C-weighted sound level, has been added to better regulate amplified sound. Amplified bells and chimes for churches and similar institutions are limited to 15 minutes rather than the previous 30 minutes. Construction- related noise restrictions have been loosened to allow higher levels of noise to be emitted. A new standard was imposed restricting operation of trash enclosures and compacting equipment to between the hours of 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. when the activity is adjacent to or across the street from a sensitive receptor, such as a residence, church or school.
Gomez is the City's designated noise officer and all noise complaints made to the City are investigated by him.
Also on Thursday, the Turlock Planning Commission approved a Conditional Use Permit for the Get Air Trampoline Park to operate at 1350 W. Main St. The trampoline park will be located in the existing retail center on the corner of W. Main Street and Soderquist Road.
The trampoline park is proposed to include areas where visitors can play dodge ball, basketball, rock climb, maneuver through obstacle courses and jump on various trampolines. Party services would also be available where guests could have food and beverages before jumping. The proposed hours of operation for the park are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.