NSN Core Group Meeting - 11/11/09
Written by NSN Coordinator   

The Neighborhood Support Network Core Group met the evening of November 11, 2009 in a classroom of St. Frances Cabrini church. In attendance were Michael Ray, Bill Holden, Ron Spark, Ronni Kotwica, Bill Seitz, Jeannette Seitz and Donald Ijams. Barbara Lehman was a guest. Robert Bowers and Marc Haberman were absent.

The group discussed a web poll of NSN members that ran from September to November. Thirty neighborhood leaders responded:

I would come to an NSN workshop on the following topic(s):

If I don't have a scheduling conflict, I will come, I really will. My limit is probably two hours, though I might stretch it to three hours if the agenda looks good. 'Social' in some of the options below means the event would primarily be a social get together, with some presentations by selected neighborhood leaders:

Results were:

Chronic nuisance properties21
Specific crime prevention tactics21
Training for new neighborhood leaders16
Dealing with new development15
Social - recent successful neigh. events18
Social - potluck picnic with topic tables22

The Core Group discussed various recent neighborhood social events, some of which involved multiple neighborhoods. The group liked the idea of an NSN social event and will pursue one or more in the future. Neighborhood leaders who would be willing to help put a social event together should contact Don Ijams at dsijams at gmail.com.

Discussion of chronic nuisance properties occupied much of the meeting time.  Examples of continuing problems recently in the press include the minidorm controversy particularly in Feldman's and Jefferson Park neighborhoods, the Giving Tree saga in Toumey Park and the problem property in Balboa Heights. Management of renters and landlord accountability were agreed as hot topics and of likely interest to neighborhood leaders.

Multiple facets to the topic were discussed, including recognition that some leaders might need education on nuisance property issues, what remedies exist, what practical tips are available and what enforcement actions should be expected from City government.  Nuisance property examples from Core Group members' neighborhoods were reviewed.

A nuisance property may be:

  • A single family home rented by a new, uninformed or uncaring landlord to people who cause their neighbors problems
  • A multifamily housing unit where chronic problems arise due to lack of screening of incoming renters, lack of effective onsite management and/or inability or unwillingness to evict promptly for cause
  • A social service site where the flow of people into and out of the property is accompanied by various kinds of disorder and petty crime
  • An apartment group where uncontrolled noise violations and unruly gatherings occur on a repeated basis
  • A property where criminal activity happens repeatedly or where criminals regularly reside

Steps to deal effectively with nuisance properties are likely to be of interest to many neighborhood leaders.

Training for landlords of all types is available through the Tucson Police Department's Crime Free housing program.  This program was designed with multihousing in mind, but all landlords and property management people are welcome to take the initial course that focuses on basic methods for effectively managing the rental process. The next course is scheduled for January 21, 2010, with repeated sessions on April 8, July 8 and October 7, 2010.  More information will be forthcoming, including the course outline, time and location, and how to sign up.

Also discussed was the role, if any, that NSN could/should play in advocating for enhanced enforcement efforts by city government in resolving long standing problem properties. This is an area for caution, but some concerted action might be considered, especially since the issue is widespread throughout the City and is not overtly partisan in a political sense.

As an action item, an NSN workshop on nuisance properties is being planned for the near future. The focus will be on imparting basic education on surrounding issues and delivering "actionable" information. Stories of specific example problems will be presented along with frustrations, actions taken and successes achieved.

A number of sessions on nuisance properties might be desirable, breaking down the material and/or repeating sessions in different parts of the city. The 21 neighborhood leaders who indicated interest in this topic through the web poll will be consulted. Discussion of format, content, timing and location is underway.

Barbara Lehmann, Co-facilitator of the Dodge/Flower Neighborhood Association, provided notes to support this article and accepted membership in the NSN Core Group.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 14 November 2009 )
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