San Luis Obispo cites self for derelict property

July 13, 2012

This is the ramshackle sight that greets neighbors of the SLO-owned Dana Street house.

Story and photos by DANIEL BLACKBURN

Weeds as tall as a human, torn window screens, crumbling chimney bricks and a collapsed fence and arbor made the ramshackle house at 466 Dana Street a prime candidate for a visit from San Luis Obispo’s “Good Neighbor” patrol. And on June 23, a citation was issued by city enforcement officer Allison Vike to the property owner for “overgrown vegetation and unsound fencing.”

A cleanup to be finished by July 8 was demanded under the city’s new policy and an enforcement order was taped on a front window.

The recipient of the citation? The city of San Luis Obispo itself.

Shortly after enforcement officials discovered the city owned the property, the notice to correct was taken down even though the violations remain unfixed.

San Luis Obispo’s tough restrictions on residents’ use of their properties went into effect in June. The program, with a monicker sounding suspiciously like an insurance company’s ad slogan, is a recent application of Measure Y bond funds aimed at shoring up the appearance of people’s homes. City officials have launched an extensive public relations program promoting the “Good Neighbor” program, which is comprised of two new enforcement officers and a hoped-for network of informants reporting on neighborhood infractions.

An arbor lies tangled on the ground at 466 Dana in SLO, where the city unknowingly ticketed itself.

A brochure published by the city informs readers how to report their neighbors to the proper authorities, and even provides a list of reportable offenses — like overgrown weeds higher than 12 inches, and drooping fences.

Citations for offenses can be given to both landlords and tenants without warning. City officials assert the program will help foster “neighborhood wellness.” A citation can cost from $50 to $200.

The Dana Street house is one of 280 properties currently owned by the city, some of which are unoccupied residences, vacant land or unused commercial parcels. Many of the city’s properties have been neglected with broken windows, crumbling walls and overgrown vegetation.

Alec Roberts lives next to the Dana Street house. He said that teenagers congregate in back of the property.

“I think the city should put it on the market with historical restrictions,” Roberts said. “I am sure the city would like the money.”

Brian Bassler, a city contract inspector for Parks and Recreation, said the city plans weed abatement and cleanup next week at the Dana Street home.

The historic Bowden La Loma Adode, fenced and decaying, may be beyond repair.

A second city-owned property at 1590 Lizzie is the Bowden La Loma Adobe, which has been deteriorating steadily since it was donated to the city from the Florence Bowden family. It sits forlornly on a large lot overgrown with massive weed patches and untended trees, dotted with trash piles.

The historic adobe is surrounded by a chain-link fence bearing “No Trespassing” signs. While there have been sporadic discussions about restoration, the adobe may be irreparable.

The city’s “service specialist” Vike, who issued the citation to the city’s Dana Street property, said that more than 90 tickets were written during the program’s first month of operation.

And for unspecified reasons, Vike resigned.  Her last day on the job is today.







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39 Comments

  1. slo Fact Finder says:

    Alas the City of San Luis Obispo expects the general public to maintain there properties to a much higher standard than the city maintains their own properties and gladly pay the high “Neighborhood Wellness” and “Code Enforcement” related fines” without question.

    This entire situation discredits the present city management and suggests a double standard for both private property owners and other local residents & visitors and removes any level of creditability for city field inspectors to do their jobs properly.

    Leading by example would clearly be the best policy for the City of San Luis Obispo to follow at all levels of municipal government in this day and age!!!

    (38) 40 Total Votes - 39 up - 1 down
  2. blondehare says:

    Well, I do hope someone can rebuild” restore this home. To me it seems worth it. That’s history..

    (22) 22 Total Votes - 22 up - 0 down
  3. racket says:

    Good story, Blackburn. Glad you got to it before the City hid their Notice of Violation sign.

    (36) 42 Total Votes - 39 up - 3 down
  4. The Gimlet Eye says:

    Nothing good comes from government; except maybe some vague sense of “order.”

    But even here, there sure is no sense of order. Just a ramshackle piece of property that they never bothered about (while they ticket you if you do the same).

    (27) 35 Total Votes - 31 up - 4 down
    • godislanguage says:

      “Laws are partly formed for the sake of good men, in order to instruct them how they may live on friendly terms with one another, and partly for the sake of those who refuse to be instructed, whose spirit cannot be subdued, or softened, or hindered from plunging into evil.”

      Plato

      (20) 22 Total Votes - 21 up - 1 down
      • The Gimlet Eye says:

        Good quote. But then, the “Republic” of Socrates was, after all, a dictatorship, wasn’t it?

        Mises had some good stuff to say about government, too:

        “Once the principle is admitted that it is duty of government
        to protect the individual against his own foolishness, no serious
        objections can be advanced against further encroachments.”

        Human Action, pp. 728–29, p. 733

        (11) 11 Total Votes - 11 up - 0 down
  5. TacomaRose says:

    PS: Sounds like Vike should be hired as SLO city manager. Oh wait … she has integrity, so I guess that disqualifies her

    (29) 35 Total Votes - 32 up - 3 down
  6. whatdouno says:

    So! Once again when it comes to government what’s good for the goose isn’t good for the gander. How typical, the old do as I say not as I do philosophy is alive and well.

    (32) 34 Total Votes - 33 up - 1 down
  7. TacomaRose says:

    R U KIdding ME !!!

    Talk about hypocrisy. Isn’t City Hall is supposed to set the example for property owners?

    I guess they have been just to darn busy hammering the homeless with emergency ordinances, than cleaning up their own linen closet.

    (32) 38 Total Votes - 35 up - 3 down
    • The Gimlet Eye says:

      Government sets a good example for nobody (except gangsters).

      “The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office. Every man but one a subordinate clerk in a bureau. What an alluring utopia! What a noble cause to fight!”

      Ludwig von Mises

      (9) 11 Total Votes - 10 up - 1 down
  8. Scarlet says:

    I like Allison Vike and I don’t even know her!

    Guaranteed her departure is tied to her ethics and unwillingness to support a two tiered enforcement program. So the city doesn’t need to abide by its own policies, huh? It’s a shame the city will lose someone so seemingly principled.

    (40) 42 Total Votes - 41 up - 1 down
    • danika says:

      Watch for “I Like Vike” bumper stickers coming soon. : )

      (18) 18 Total Votes - 18 up - 0 down
  9. BeenThereDoneThat says:

    Wow Gov. saying do as I say not as I do??? No real surprise here.

    (34) 36 Total Votes - 35 up - 1 down

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