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Land Use and Community Character Goal 5

Residential neighborhoods will remain strong and vibrant, and will be protected from encroachment by incompatible development and land uses.

5.1 Adopt a Residential Property Maintenance Code

STRATEGY: Adopt and enforce a strong residential property maintenance code that requires the maintenance of residential structures and their surroundings in a safe, sanitary an aesthetically compatible manner. Such an ordinance should ensure that sufficient remedies and penalties are in place to encourage the voluntary compliance with notices of violation, while leaving the Town with broad authority to abate health and safety issues if voluntary compliance is not achieved.

JUSTIFICATION: The failure of a single residential property owner to adequately maintain their dwelling can have an outsized effect on an entire neighborhood. Blight tends to breed blight as apathy about the appearance of homes grows, which in turn can lead to declining property values and negative impacts on the quality of life in a neighborhood. Ensuring that the town has the ability to assert itself and bring blighted residential properties up to the standards of the town will help to maintain property values, give residents confidence in the strength of their investments and support the quality of life in neighborhoods.

5.2 Implement a Rental Property Registration and Inspection Program

STRATEGY: Implement a rental property certification and inspection program that would require the registration and periodic inspection of rental properties for compliance with the residential property maintenance code (once adopted).

JUSTIFICATION: The large share of the town’s housing stock that is comprised of rental properties can lead to negative impacts on the quality of life in the town’s neighborhoods as rental property owners and their tenants tend not to invest the same amount of resources in the maintenance of these properties as the owners of owner occupied properties do. Deferred maintenance, among other potential issues, can lead to problems with certain rental properties. By requiring registration and periodic inspection of rental properties, the town can help to ensure that the stock of rental housing in the community is maintained to the same standards as expected of owner occupied homes.

5.3 Maintain On-Street Parking Limits in Neighborhoods

STRATEGY: Continue to enforce reasonable limits on parking in residential neighborhoods to ensure that each residence is afforded sufficient parking and to limit nonresidential traffic and parking in neighborhoods.

JUSTIFICATION: Given the limited supply of on-street parking in the town, commuters will tend to migrate into residential areas if allowed. Maintaining current limits on parking by nonresidents on neighborhood streets will help to ensure that residents have adequate access to on-street parking and limit traffic on neighborhood streets.

5.4 Improve the Appearance and Safety of Alleys

STRATEGY: Develop and implement a comprehensive program to improve the appearance of residential alleys and address the safety of structures along alleyways.

JUSTIFICATION: Maintaining a positive aesthetic appearance along the town’s alleyways will help to reinforce property values and deter activity that may be detrimental to neighborhoods. During the development of the plan, a number of structures along alleyways were observed that appeared to be in substandard condition, potentially impacting the safety of travel along alleys if left uncorrected in the future. Identifying substandard structures and requiring their rehabilitation or demolition will help to ensure both the safety and appearance of alleys.