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Extreme neighborhood makeover returns

Homeowners spruce up houses, yards

Posted: September 14, 2008 9:08 p.m.
Updated: November 16, 2008 5:00 a.m.

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Santa Clarita code enforcement officers are getting ready to party.

The city's Extreme Neighborhood Makeover team will head into east Newhall Thursday to throw a big bash in the middle of the street and nudge residents to spruce up their houses and yards in the aging neighborhood.

In June, city officials set up their deck chairs and lit up the barbecue at the first block party east of Whites Canyon Road in Canyon Country. Code enforcement officers sent letters to 150 property owners within a five-block radius informing them of the most common code violations in their community.

At the block party, city officials set up information booths to give the residents the resources needed to clean up their properties.

City crews and a team of local volunteers trimmed trees, planted new ones, filled pot holes, wiped out graffiti and patched sidewalks.

Community Preservation Officer Cruz Caldera said 92 property owners were notified they are out of compliance, mostly because their yards are overgrown, they store inoperable cars in their driveway or the paint on their house is peeling. About 80 percent of them were responsive, Caldera said.

He will work with the property owners as long as they're making progress.

"They are gradually coming into compliance, but none of them are 100-percent complete thus far," he said. "Our last resort is citation, but that's not what we want and it's not what the property owners want."

The unresponsive 20 percent will be getting citations within the next few weeks.

"We're making a difference," he said. "It's not us, it's the property owners."

Alan Ferdman, who lives in the Canyon Country neighborhood and serves as the chairman of the Canyon Country Advisory Committee, said he has heard nothing but positive feedback from his neighbors.

"It's making this place look a lot better," he said.

He was expecting his neighbors to complain about code enforcement officers knocking on their doors, but hasn't heard any negative comments, he said.

He noticed some neighbors moving their inoperable vehicles and others are sprucing up their gardens, he said.

Thursday's block party is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Market Street between Arch Street and Race Street in Newhall.

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