Santa Maria Sun / News
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 4
Vandalism and loitering prompt concern in northeast neighborhoods
By CAMILLIA LANHAM
The top complaint voiced at the city-held northeast neighborhood town hall meeting on March 26? Teenagers up to no good after Pioneer Valley High School gets out for the day.
Vandalism, congestion, and petty theft/burglary were high on the list of issues. The meeting was the second of four neighborhood get-togethers organized by the city of Santa Maria as a way of taking steps to improve residents’ quality of life, according to city spokesman Mark van de Kamp.
The first meeting, held in October 2012, was for the northwestern portions of the city and addressed problems with violent crimes the neighborhoods have faced in recent memory.
“The concerns were very different than the northwest meeting, which we anticipated,” van de Kamp said.
Most of the concerns in the northeast, residents said, are teenagers with nothing better to do after school than cause trouble, hang out in the “breezeway” behind the community center and softball field, vandalize property, trample front yards, and generally disrespect the neighborhood and its occupants. Van de Kamp said such concerns will be taken into account as the city staff prepares an action plan for the northeast during the next couple of weeks.
Traffic and congestion concerns will be harder to address, he said. Many people complained about too many cars parked on residential streets because multiple families are co-habiting in some of the houses.
“These are public streets,” van de Kamp said. “As long as they’re legal, licensed, and registered … they can park on the street.”
The city is planning on using the Northwest Action Plan—which resulted in prostitution stings, a door-to-door code compliance program, the purchase of new playground equipment for Oakley Park, and other things—as a template for setting up the Northeast Action Plan. Van de Kamp said the city is also going to schedule meetings in the southeast and southwest neighborhoods for later this year.