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Trail Talk 3: Vacant House, Wild Animal and Code Enforcement

Vacant / foreclosed house - a source of concerns

One of the major complaints I’m hearing during my talks with my neighbors is the issue with the vacant houses and its effect on the quality of life.

Due to deep recession we’re in, our city is having a record number of vacant and foreclosed houses. Many rental houses are staying vacant because of lack of renters, who prefer to rent a cheap apartments instead of relatively expensive houses.

The vacant and foreclosed houses are causing a serious concerns among the neighbors who live next to these houses. A major complaint they have is that the rental houses are not kept in good condition by the landlords and the banks who own these houses. This, they think, is degrading the neighborhood and bringing the property values of the entire neighborhood.

I met a neighbor the other day who says her next door house is foreclosed, but the yards are not kept in good condition. She also suspects some wild animals probably live in the shed located in the backyard. This neighbor said sometime she wakes up in the middle of the night hearing animal sound. She is also afraid of her children at home.

Next day, I called the City, who did a good job in sending the code enforcement also someone from the animal control to take care of the situation.

The issue here I see is that, our City needs to have a better system in reporting and tracking these code enforcement related issues. Though currently, one can search the code violations on city’s website, but there is no online system to report and track these issues. Residents should also report these incidents anonymously, since some of them may be afraid of retaliations afterwards.

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