As summer, the fairest of Cape seasons, comes to a reluctant untimely end, there remains a moment to take stock of all that has been enjoyed and accomplished throughout such a short season. Though it may seem not much real work gets done while days are long and the sun is high, a number of your fellow citizens have been working on your behalf to make our community a better and safer place.
Way back in April, a large group of concerned Hyannis residents came together to take back control of our neighborhoods and improve the quality of life for all responsible residents. Five specific areas of concern were identified with one being issues emanating from out-of-control rental properties.
The Landlord-Renters and Regulations Task Force has met regularly this summer in an attempt to hammer out improvements in the way our town approaches problem rental properties. What is slowly beginning to emerge from our efforts is a significant overhaul of code and enforcement language to enable town officials to target irresponsible landlords and/or tenants disrupting our neighborhoods.
Specifically, our group has focused on the following areas of concern:
• Enforcement and adequacy of existing regulations
• Abandoned and/or neglected properties
• Establishment of a dedicated reporting hotline
Over the summer, considerable progress in all of these areas has been achieved with the regular input and guidance of both Barnstable Health and Zoning Enforcement officials. One of our next steps will be a review by the Barnstable town attorney of the proposed code improvements.
Significant change and improvement in the way we, as a town, address the dynamic between those who lease properties and their tenants, who in turn are our neighbors, is a difficult, imprecise and sometimes inadequate process. But it is a process we must engage in order to bring about the positive change demanded to restore a needed sense of order in our community.
We have already met with, and discussed, a new central call-in/liaison, tentatively called a “Neighborhood Services Officer,” with the Town Manager. This person will take calls from residents of the Town, answer questions, provide direction, and follow up each call to be sure that questions have been answered, or needs addressed. This position is a much needed support resource the Town currently lacks.
The VOV Landlord/Tenant Task Force meets every other Wednesday evening at the Barnstable Police Department at 1200 Phinney’s Lane. Please feel free to join us on the following dates: Sept. 7 or 21, at 7 p.m. More detailed information is always available at the Greater Hyannis Civic Association atGreaterHyannis@aol.com or at our website: www.hyanniscivic.com/