Help Strengthen Your Neigborhood
Summer is upon us. For civic and homeowners’ associations, this often means “down” time as many organizations do not meet during the summer and instead use the time to plan for the upcoming year.
If your organization is one of those (or even if it isn’t), I’d like to propose some ideas for your “summer planning.”
Recently, I’ve been writing about enforcing our zoning, property maintenance, and grass ordinances. I encourage each Braddock neighborhood to make code enforcement a priority in the coming year.
Learn the code requirements about multi-family homes (illegal boarding houses), multiple-family dwellings (illegal second kitchens), parking regulations, outdoor storage (a euphemism for junk in the yard), and grass cutting (grass must be kept under 12”). Encourage members of your communities to comply voluntarily with these laws without becoming overbearing or becoming the neighborhood “busy body.” Voluntary code compliance is the key to reducing the rising level of violations, and keeping our neighborhoods safe, vital, and attractive.
I also urge you to plan additional “community building” exercises in your neighborhood. “Community building” is just a fancy way to say that people in a neighborhood need to get to know each other and need to create more opportunities where they work and play together. Encourage people to hold block parties in your neighborhood; plan additional community social events.
Taking these actions will bring people together, which is the first step toward addressing neighborhood concerns. In bringing people together, remember to include all people. We are an increasingly diverse community. Reach out to those who have different ethnic or racial backgrounds from your own. Reach out to those who are older or younger, or who have different professions. Strong communities build relationships among all neighbors. If we want our communities to be strong, we must build those bonds between all of our residents.
I look forward to meeting many of you in the coming year. I would welcome the opportunity to attend your meetings to introduce myself, talk to you about my ideas for strengthening our neighborhoods, listen to your ideas, and answer your questions.
Please contact my office if you’d like to schedule a meeting. And, if there is anything I can do to help you meet your neighborhood’s needs, please don’t hesitate to ask. My staff and I are here to serve you.
Have a great summer, and keep up that community involvement!