Posted by – Dale Mathes, Code Enforcement Officer
We all know that sometimes little things can make a big difference.
For example, last week a member of the City’s Foreclosure Task Force observed a problem with a house in the 2700 block of James Street while performing a proactive vacancy inspection. The home is currently unoccupied and owned by a federal agency. At the time, its front and side windows were boarded up with plywood.
We have made it a practice in the City of Auburn Hills to not allow the wholesale boarding up of windows with bare wood. The rationale is that the house is immediately seen as vacant and not habitable. Under such conditions, they can become targets for vandals and squatters. As a matter of fact, a person we met at the scene stated that the place “looked like a crack house.” That’s not what Auburn Hills’ residents want in their neighborhoods!
So, contact was made with the federal agency and the City’s policy and ordinances were explained. They were asked to appropriately secure the boards to prevent entrance and to give them a coat of paint that would blend into the trim of the house. Though hesitant at first – after it was explained that if they didn’t address the blight the City would contract out the task and place a lien on the property for the expense – the agency quickly changed their tune.
Within days, the windows were secured and the plywood was painted with a shade that accented the rest of the house.
It may not seem like much, but little things like this are proven to help stabilize and strengthen neighborhoods. As a team, we take pride in protecting our City … one home at a time.