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Frank Ferry: Extreme neighborhood makeover continues

Live from City Hall

Posted: July 23, 2009 10:02 p.m.
Updated: July 24, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Over the past two decades, the city of Santa Clarita's "reactive code enforcement" policies have slowly grown to encompass a more proactive approach, enabling the city to better interact with individual neighbors at an early stage in the code-enforcement process in a timely manner.

The city's community preservation officers work diligently with homeowners and neighborhoods to help bring them into compliance with city codes and improve their properties.

This dedication is evidenced in the success of the city's Extreme Neighborhood Makeover program.

The program promotes collaborative partnerships among the city, local businesses, volunteers and communities, all of whom work together to maintain our neighborhoods and enhance property values.

Phase I of the project in Canyon Country saw 140 code-enforcement cases opened and met with nearly 100-percent compliance.

In collaboration with local organizations, the city's Urban Forestry Division planted more than 50 trees in the area, while the city's Street Team replaced damaged sidewalks, filled in potholes and replaced street signs.

Phase II of the Canyon Country Extreme Neighborhood Makeover is in the planning stages and scheduled to begin near the beginning of April in the west and central Canyon Country communities.

The second installment of the Extreme Neighborhood Makeover began in Newhall last fall.

The program saw more than 60 code-enforcement cases opened in the area and met with 80-percent compliance.

The city's "Leaf Out" program, comprised of Urban Forestry staff and community volunteers, participated in numerous tree plantings in the area.

City staff is currently working with property owners to determine effective remedies to local code violations in the area.

A Saugus neighborhood was the location for the next local community to receive the Extreme Neighborhood Makeover treatment and is underway.

To date, the community has seen an overwhelming compliance from residents enjoying the chance to enhance their community aesthetics with the city's help.

A second neighborhood in Canyon Country comprised of more than 1,200 homes was the most recent Extreme Neighborhood Makeover area.

The program kicked off with a block party earlier this year and is now in the compliance phase of the program.

What sets the program apart from other code-enforcement programs is the collaborative approach embraced by the community.

The program not only includes participation from the city and neighborhoods, but also from the private sector and from local nonprofit and church groups.

The Extreme Neighborhood Makeover program promotes collaborative partnerships among the city, local businesses and communities to maintain neighborhoods and enhance property values. As an example, this summer, Oaksprings Landscaping and 30 local community volunteers joined with the city and helped a Canyon Country Extreme Neighborhood Makeover area senior citizen and homeowner correct city code violations at no cost to the homeowner.

Staygreen Inc. also joined in and trimmed a 40-foot, heavily overgrown tree in the front yard. SJA Painting volunteered their time and expertise to pressure-wash the home's stucco and correct deteriorating paint on the home's exterior.

Volunteers from Grace Baptist Church performed myriad outdoor labor. This example of the community coming together for the greater good of our neighborhoods is what Extreme Neighborhood Makeover is all about.

Over the next several months, the city will work with local organizations to provide improvements to the Canyon Country, Newhall and Saugus neighborhoods. The program will continue providing residents with cost-effective solutions to code enforcement problems through 2009 and beyond, continuing Santa Clarita's status as one of California's top cities in which to live, work and play.

Frank Ferry is mayor of Santa Clarita. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. "Live from City Hall" runs Fridays in The Signal and is provided by the city of Santa Clarita.


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