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December 5, 2017 > City uses app to fight blight

City uses app to fight blight

Submitted By Kim Varner

Earlier this year, the City of San Leandro committed $1 million over two years to a new Community Care initiative to improve the quality of life and aesthetics in the community through education, cooperation and responsive enforcement. Multiple City departments make up the Community Care initiative:

¥ Police Department enforces regulations related to animal control and abandoned vehicles
¥ Public Works Department responds to public property concerns
¥ Engineering & Transportation Department enforces repairs to damaged sidewalks
¥ Community Development Department responds to reports of unpermitted construction as well as overgrown vegetation, blight and zoning code issues.

The My San Leandro app is available in the app store and can be used to report concerns to the City As part of this new initiative, a new Code Enforcement division was created to increase awareness of the CityÕs established ordinances and codes related to weeds, blight and property maintenance, encouraging compliance in the commercial, industrial, and residential areas of San Leandro. The overarching goal is to visibly improve the appearance of the CityÕs streets, storefronts, and neighborhoods and help inspire a San Leandro that is cleaner, more beautiful, and feels safe and comfortable for all.

In October, the CityÕs Code Enforcement team began visiting businesses along East 14th Street, Davis Street and Marina Boulevard in an effort to introduce themselves and provide useful information regarding the CityÕs sign regulations. Through constructive conversations with business owners, the team was able to encourage the removal of the majority of unpermitted signageÑsuch as banners, balloons, waving flags, and A-frame signageÑwithout the need for formal enforcement. Two weeks following the courtesy visits, the team revisited the same areas to inspect and enforce any remaining sign infractions. So far, only a handful of Courtesy Notices of Violation have been issued. This partnership between the team, property owners and businesses resulted in notable improvements to the appearance of the streets and the visibility of storefronts. In the coming weeks, the Code Enforcement team will be continuing this productive effort in additional areas, such as on Washington Avenue, Doolittle Drive, and MacArthur Boulevard.

The Code Enforcement team is also busy responding to concerns regarding weeds, outdoor storage, zoning and blight reported on the new MySL app. A considerable volume of MySL reports from residents has steered the Code Enforcement team to properties with overgrown vegetation, storage of junk in the front yard, peeling building paint, neglected facades and other blight. Information regarding the CityÕs regulations can be found on the Code Enforcement website page. The team uses a similar approach with residents, beginning with courtesy visits to help educate property owners and encourage compliance with the CityÕs regulations. As with the commercial areas, the goal is to improve the appearance of residential areas and neighborhoods.

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