Shawn Stillman
Neighborhood Coordinator
Address: 155 Deer Hill Avenue
Danbury, CT 06810
 
Telephone: (203) 796-8026  

Information:

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About Us:

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. Additionally, the UNIT partners with the Danbury Police Department to issue tickets for parking violations, as well as removing any abandoned or unregistered motor vehicle parked on city streets.

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.

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 to resolve the issue in question. At times, there are concerns 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 continue with 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.

Our Accomplishments:

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 38% of all UNIT activity was a direct result of ACTION.

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.

Last year, our department partnered with the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) and coordinated bi-weekly cleanups around town. The results were amazing as the UNIT managed a small group of FCI residents in picking up trash/litter. Other tasks included removing unsightly graffiti from bridges and buildings, etc. Recently, FCI needed to temporarily suspend work furloughs; however, the UNIT has sought additional means of continuing to maintain these areas prone to litter build up. The UNIT has partnered with the homeless shelter and the Police Department seeking out individuals either interested in giving back and participating in clean up projects; or, individuals who have been assigned community service hours and need to complete their time. As a result, the cleanups have continued. As one of the largest cities in the state, the UNIT is proud of its continual effort to maintain Danbury as a clean and graffiti free community. The UNIT prides itself on its proactive, relentless pursuit of preserving our neighborhoods and our community.

In 2012, the UNIT handled nearly 1100 quality of life issues. As a result of the UNIT’s intervention, approximately 400 properties littered with debris were cleaned up. 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 the neighborhoods as lawns do not get maintained, debris is often left outside and in some cases, the homes are not secure and are subject to criminal mischief activity. Our department has achieved must success by involving lenders, real estate agencies and property preservation companies to ensure that these properties are secure and maintained. It is important to address these issues as quickly as possible.

The UNIT also inspects properties subject 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 over the last few years, 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.