BY MAIRE O’NEILL
A communications and outreach effort proposed by the Los Alamos Community Development Advisory Board to provide residents with information on property maintenance requires and issues in conjunction with the rewrite of Chapters 18 and 16 of the Los Alamos County Code is being submitted for approval by Los Alamos County Council. The communication plan has not yet been placed on a Council agenda for consideration and approval. It was developed in full by CDAB members Anna Dillane and John Gustafson.
The CDAB envisions a months-long messaging campaign that will the board will develop in coordination with Julie Habiger, the County’s public information officer, and Dekker/Perich/Sabatini, the consulting firm hired by the County to rewrite Chapter 18.
The communications plan indicates that brief articles will be posted to the County’s Community Development Department web page and then amplified by Habiger. “CDAB intends that the tone and content of the messaging will be appropriate for positive engagement with the community,” the plan states, and the content will be checked to make sure that appropriate tone has been achieved.
CDAB members will undertake writing the articles which will include the following:
- Introduction of CDAB and its members, including a recruitment pitch for future CDAB members.
- Establish the fact that communities regulate property maintenance.
- Describe CDD function and structure.
Introduce Chapter 18 rewrite. Reference consultant and planned/probable path for community input.
- Present stats from the previous year. Inform community of predominant issues identified and neighborhood stats. Describe level of enforcement in terms of numbers.
- Let’s talk about weeds. Challenge in defining including a presentation on the formal list of noxious weeds and “overwintering”.
- Information on what an obstructed pathway looks like (generic images only; no property identification). Educate on where property owner’s responsibility ends/doesn’t end. Rules on leaving free stuff curbside.
- Provide resources on who to call with code questions or for information on how to engage with CDD or CDAB
- Resources available for those who need assistance with a property maintenance issues.
- Public safety is the driver. a. Defensible space; Los Alamos Fire Department availability for inspections. b. Brush/grass and rodents. c. Appliances — refrigerators outside. d. Cars on sidewalks.
- Process by which CDD enforcement efforts unfold. Friendly letter (and origin). Usual resolution of issues. Proceed to notice of violation. Use CDD stats.
- Outdoor storage. Materials generated during home remodeling, other home projects.
- Outdoor furniture — couches, tables, shelving etc. What can/can’t you have in yard? In carports?
- Differences among neighborhoods — how to manage?
- Inoperable vehicles. Definition. Backyard vs. side yard vs. front yard. Stats regarding this issue.
- Filing a complaint. What’s the process? Can you maintain anonymity? 17. Stats — complaint-driven letters vs. enforcement generated letters.
- More definitions. Sanitation. Public nuisance. Blight.
- Sprinkled throughout this effort will be appeals for input. Will coordinate with consultant’s outreach efforts.