Sunday, September 12, 2010

Safe Housing in Ventura

Yesterday I attended the Safe Housing Collaborative's open house and workshop at Cabrillo Middle School. Safe housing and code enforcement has been a significant issue here in Ventura over the last year or two -- not surprising considering we are an older city with an older housing stock.

The meeting yesterday was terrific. I would say about 80 people showed up. The Safe Housing Collaborative -- a City Council-appointed group chaired by Jill Martinez -- did a terrific job of pulling things together and organizing the event. At the workshop, the participants were broken down into small tables and they discussed housing and code enforcement issues at length.

I'm looking forward to hearing what the Safe Housing Collaborative took away from the day. There were a lot of comments -- some angry, but most constructive. I tried to move from table to table to get a broad understanding of what people were saying, and here's what I heard most frequently:

1. Our permit fees are too high. (We have been increasing some fees in order to ensure that taxpayers don't subsidize building fees and code enforcement fines.)

2. To bring costs down, we should allow permit applicants or contractors to "self-certify" that the code has been met. (This is one of several options we've been discussing.)

3. We should focus on safety issues and not worry so much about other things that are technically substandard. ("Substandard" is defined in the state code and is pretty expansive.)

4. Our building inspectors and code enforcement officers sometimes have an attitude and/or don't demonstrate evenhandedness. (As I have no personal experience with this, I don't know if this is true or not.)

Anyway, these were the four things I heard pretty consistently.

You can get involved in the Safe Housing Collaborative discussion by joining the Safe Housing Ventura Yahoo group.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Want to comment on my blog? Leave me a message here!