||155 Deer Hill Avenue
Danbury, CT 06810
Listing files in 'Neighborhood Services'
Preserving the quality and character of Danbury’s neighborhoods is a top priority for the Office of Neighborhood Assistance. As a result, Mayor Mark Boughton created this department, which oversees the Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team (UNIT) and the CityLine 311 information line.
The UNIT has become the state’s model in combating Health, Housing, Zoning and Fire code violations. The UNIT is responsible for resolving various neighborhood concerns ranging from illegal apartments, blight, parking violations, neighborhood nuisances and overcrowded, unsafe living conditions. The team focuses on blight remediation, code compliance, safety and quality of life issues and strives to enhance Danbury’s position as a premier place to live, work, and raise a family.
The UNIT is represented by members of the following departments: Fire Marshal, Police, Health and Housing and Building. In addition, the UNIT frequently partners with other departments, including Zoning and Public Works to further assist our department’s efforts.
Danbury’s residents take pride in the preservation of their neighborhoods; therefore it is essential for our team to respond quickly and efficiently to their concerns. The UNIT responds to every concern brought before the team and will work diligently with the property owners to resolve the issue in question. At times, there may be situations that fall out of the realm of the authority of the UNIT; however, our team will do whatever we can to alleviate the situation. This may include referring those matters to the responsible departments within City Hall, or assisting the residents and explaining to them what actions they may need to take to further pursue resolution.
It is a common practice for the Office of Neighborhood Assistance to follow up and give updates and timeframes to Danbury’s residents that alert the UNIT of their concerns. As a result of being proactive and following up, the office continues to receive positive feedback from our residents. In many cases, residents are hesitant in providing their name and contact information while submitting a complaint. In these cases, our team will still perform the due diligence needed to resolve the problem, while simultaneously respecting the privacy wishes of the residents. Residents continue to express their gratitude for the hard work of the UNIT and we appreciate the support in helping to maintain and improve the quality of life for all residents of Danbury.
In addition to the efficient response to resident complaints, the UNIT excels in proactively improving the quality of life in Danbury.
The UNIT performs A.C.T.I.O.N. (Active Commitment Towards Improving Our Neighborhoods) on a routine basis each month. This is a method in which the UNIT patrols Danbury’s neighborhoods and performs visual inspections on properties, as well as interacts with the residents to ensure that quality of life issues are being maintained. Over the last year, incredibly nearly 40% of all UNIT activity was a direct result of ACTION.
In Spring 2011, the UNIT established a relationship with the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) and the results have been amazing. With immediate results of proactively improving and maintaining our City, the UNIT hosts weekly furloughs for a small group of FCI residents. During these sessions, many different accomplishments are achieved around town, most notably, litter/trash clean up. Areas known for litter build up: exit ramps, bridges, railroad tracks, streets, are routinely cleaned up of trash and unapproved signage. Also, other tasks include removing unwanted graffiti from bridges and buildings, etc. Areas prone to illegal dumping have been cleaned up with the assistance of FCI residents. They have also assisted with City events such as Clean City Danbury, as well as helped to prepare Main Street for holiday parades. Their assistance has been a tremendous asset to the City of Danbury. The UNIT, as well as Danbury’s residents is grateful.
Additionally, the UNIT hosts neighborhood meetings for our residents. These meetings, that also include Mayor Mark Boughton, educate Danbury’s residents about community standards of health and safety, as well as zoning rules and regulations. After these meetings are held, the UNIT then will conduct ACTION in these specific neighborhoods and work with property owners and residents to resolve any quality of life issues.
The UNIT prides itself on its proactive, relentless pursuit of preserving our neighborhoods and our community.
In 2011, the UNIT handled over 1100 quality of life issues. As a result of the UNIT’s intervention, nearly 400 properties littered with debris were cleaned up. Danbury residents do not like living next to those properties littered with trash and for good reason. These properties are prone to rodent infestation, foul odors and overall, an eyesore that brings the neighborhood down. Our department enforces that property owners and tenants keep their properties clean and our follow up inspections ensure that they are being maintained.
With the economic challenges over the past few years, there has been an increase in abandoned and foreclosed homes. This creates concern in neighborhoods as lawns do not get maintained, debris is often left outside and in many cases, the homes are not secure. In 2011, the UNIT dealt with approximately 40 properties regarding this issue. It is a challenging task to work with the lending institutions, however, in the past year the UNIT has achieved must success by involving property preservation companies to ensure that these properties are secure and maintained. Vacant homes that are not maintained become blight to the neighborhood, as well as can attract vagrancy and criminal behavior. It is important to address these issues as quickly as possible.
The UNIT also inspected and properly addressed nearly 70 properties with concerns due to illegal, overcrowded and/or unsafe occupancy. Overcrowded apartments can compromise the safety of the tenants that live in these types of situations. Often, tenants are found living in unapproved and unsafe spaces. Areas, such as basements and attics, are common locations for these precarious conditions. In most cases, temperature control is lacking, extension cords are unsafely rampant throughout the home and most importantly, there is a lack of adequate sized windows to escape in case of a fire emergency. Of the properties inspected by our department in this past year, there is no way of measuring the lives that have potentially been saved as a result of the UNIT’s unwavering commitment to eliminate these unsafe living conditions.
Another responsibility overseen by the UNIT encompasses illegally parked motor vehicles, as well their registration status. Vehicles parked on the front lawn are removed and vehicles without valid registrations are also tagged and required to be removed from the property or re-registered. Additionally, the UNIT issues tickets to vehicles illegally parked on city streets, as well as on sidewalks. Finally, with the assistance of the Danbury Police Department, the UNIT removes any abandoned or unregistered motor vehicle parked on city streets.
Essentially, our department considers itself the “one-stop shop” department where all complaints can be addressed. If needed, the UNIT coordinates the assistance of other departments within City Hall to resolve the issue. Each year, the UNIT continues to handle hundreds of miscellaneous concerns ranging from un-permitted construction, neighborhood nuisances, safety conditions, zoning violations, and illegal dumping, etc.
The Office of Neighborhood Assistance prides itself on our quick response, professional service and appropriate follow up to the concerns of the residents of Danbury. Our department has become the model of “one-stop shopping”, as residents can submit a complaint regarding any matter of concern. If required, the UNIT will partner with the applicable department at City Hall to ensure that the issue is dealt with quickly and efficiently.
The UNIT’s most notable accomplishments are measured everyday as our department works feverishly to preserve and maintain the quality of life in Danbury. Each resolved issue equals a small, individual success resulting in the overall positive appearance of Danbury’s neighborhoods.