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Everything Bremerton | The nightmare on your street
If you live in Bremerton the chances are good that there is that one house on your street or in your neighborhood that creates nothing but scary situations and headaches for surrounding residents. Properties with problems that go way beyond an overgrown yard or the desperate need for a paint job. I am talking about boarded up windows, little to no utility service, garbage and waste piled everywhere with dozens of weekly visitors that only stay 10 to 20 minutes at a time and increase in frequency on Fridays and pay days.
Just this week there was a major bust, just up the street from my home, by the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office. Outstanding warrants on the renters living there lead to a discovery of toxic drugs. As a neighboring homeowner this is one of the worst possible things you ever want to see or hear.
Focus on and concern for properties with obvious code violations and illegal activity appears to be gaining an increase in priority at the city level. The Department of Community Development oversees and manages code enforcement operations for the City of Bremerton. Code enforcement is a small department with a limited budget that operates the face of less than limited number of nightmare properties spread throughout many neighborhoods in Bremerton.
Many of these properties have systematically displayed warning signs for months if not years leading up to the point where they are forced into being shut down. Neighbors lodge documented official complaints with both the police department and code enforcement over noise, traffic, parking, utility violations and unsafe living conditions.
Paying more attention to and accepting the warning signs as they occur is one way the City of Bremerton can get in front of the problem instead of constantly and very expensively chasing after it. Significant portions of the overall solution lie with all of the stakeholder groups.
Local rental property and individual homeowners need to take full responsibility for the safe operating conditions of their properties. Period. No excuses. That also includes foreclosing financial institutions that control and manage these properties while they transition through the foreclosure process.
Citizens need to keep their complaints to issues that are visible, documented and serious in nature. The petty practice of using complaints to code enforcement to "get back” at a neighbor you don’t like only wastes critical time and valuable taxpayer funded resources.
Code enforcement needs to be professional, empathetic and responsive to citizen complaints. Improved communication practices and follow-up is critical towards any and all long-term reporting and enforcement solutions.
Nightmare properties need to be shut down and cleaned up. This will take time, patience, property owner commitment and improved enforcement practices.