The City Council Advisory Committee discussed the plan last week for a second time since the City Council asked it to determine the need for the ordinance.
But the committee agreed to be prepared to make a recommendation to the council by its next meeting in March.
"I move that (we) do not act tonight ... but that we come back in 30 days or at the next meeting, and, hopefully, it won't be postponed, with the new revised version at which time we will take a vote on the proposal," committee Chairman Tom Mitchell said.
The City Council asked for the review in August after several residents, including a committee member, voiced their concerns over the ordinance.
The committee first discussed the ordinance during a meeting in October but tabled the decision to allow city staffers more time to address questions raised by the committee.
Under the city's current policy, code enforcement officers send two notices of violation to property owners.
If the owner does not comply, the case heads to the city prosecutor and possibly to court. That process can be costly to the city.
The new ordinance, which is used by numerous cities, would give code enforcement the ability to issue a citation with a fine before the case goes to the prosecutor.
"This particular administrative citation ordinance allows the opportunity and the option for the city to be cited with a ticket, with citation, so that they can get into compliance rather than going into the court and have a criminal record," said Liz Chavez, the city's manager of Housing, Economic Development and Code Enforcement.
Ninety-five percent of the cases that code enforcement issues notices for comply, but 80 to 90 cases per year head to the prosecutor.
"What we're aiming for is to make the program cost-neutral and reach compliance," Chavez said. "Compliance is the No. 1 priority for this administration citation process."
City Manager Stephen Dunn said the city would still take violators to court, but the fines would help cover legal costs.
For example, the city spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting medical marijuana dispensaries, which were operating in violation of the city zoning code.
"We could have fined them an administrative fine, then we could have gotten them to pay for our legal fees to battle them in court," Dunn said.
Committee member Anthony Ghosn said he was concerned the new ordinance would encourage a proactive search for code violations, rather than the city's current reactive approach.
Code enforcement officers now rely on citizen complaints before investigating possible violations.
"I think that's something we really need to pay attention to," he said.
Committee member Hal Tanner, whose first meeting was Wednesday after being appointed by Councilwoman Debbie Stone, suggested the ordinance be reviewed at a later date to determine its effectiveness.
"We'll do it for a year or do it for 18 months and then come back and say, `Is it working? Is it a disadvantage? Does it hurt citizens? Are citizens being denied their rights or abused in any way financial or any other way?"'
Reach Sandra via email, call her at 909-483-8555, or find her on Twitter @UplandNow.