Code enforcement issues have some residents upset.
Over 15 residents spoke out at Tuesday night’s Santa Clarita City Council meeting, expressing their outrage over code enforcement operations occurring in their neighborhood. The concerned speakers live in the Bonelli tract in Saugus, which dates back to the 1950s.
The complaints, some coming from visibly emotional residents, charged that a City community preservation officer was citing their homes for code violations that some residents considered unfair. One area of special concern was the driveways, which some residents were reportedly told were too wide. To that issue, the City had already said that it would not enforce the driveway citations after hearing complaints several weeks ago.
Other residents told stories of feeling threatened by the code enforcement, and struggling to find the money to complete the demanded repairs in the time allotted by the City.
Overall the complaints seemed to prove to the City that a closer look at code enforcement in older areas of Santa Clarita may be necessary. At Tuesday’s Council meeting City Manager Ken Pulskamp apologized to the residents and vowed to work to find a resolution.
City Communications Manager Gail Ortiz told KHTS that the City will be meeting with the residents soon in order to find a solution.
“The idea is that we work with them, not against them,” she said. “We’re going to go out to this particular neighborhood, have a meeting with them very [soon], discuss their issues and find a way through the problems and issues they expressed…and hopefully come to an understanding. They are proud of their neighborhood and we respect that.”
The City recently identified the Bonelli neighborhood for their Extreme Neighborhood Makeover program, which aims to help older parts of Santa Clarita stay vibrant. Up until now the City claims to have seen much success with the program.
To start each Extreme Neighborhood Makeover, the City hosts a “block party.” At the party, City community preservation officers speak with the residents, identify code violations and discuss corrective measures the homeowners can take. The City also coordinates discounts for contractors and volunteers to help complete the projects if necessary.
Ortiz believes that going back to the Bonelli neighborhood now will help iron out how the system works in the future.
“It’s a brand new program,” Ortiz said. “We are inventing the wheel as we go along. Probably what we need to do is not take such a black and white approach, and I think that may be what happened out there. I guarantee that they are going to be happy by the time we reach out to them, work through their issues, recognize that they have some legitimate issues, and help them through those.”