If a foreclosed property has fallen into disrepair, has garbage, or overgrown grass, please submit a service request to the UNIT who will then investigate. Oftentimes, due to the lengthy process of contacting the bank who owns the property, it will take a little longer to have it cleaned up than normal - your patience and understanding in such an instance is greatly appreciated.
Preserving the quality and character of Danbury’s neighborhoods is a primary goal for the Office of Neighborhood Assistance. As a result, Mayor Mark Boughton created this department, which is known the Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team (UNIT) and is charged with preserving and improving the quality of life for all Danbury residents.
The UNIT has become the state’s model in combating Health, Housing, Zoning and Fire code violations by working closely with those respective departments in a timely and professional manner. The UNIT is responsible for resolving various neighborhood concerns ranging from illegal apartments, blight, unregistered vehicles, neighborhood nuisances and overcrowded, unsafe living conditions. Additionally, the UNIT partners with the Danbury Police Department to issue tickets for parking violations, as well as removing any abandoned or unregistered motor vehicles parked on city streets.
The team focuses on blight remediation, code compliance, safety and quality of life issues and strives to enhance Danbury’s position as a premier place to live, work, and raise a family.
Danbury’s residents take pride in the preservation of their neighborhoods; therefore it is essential for our team to respond quickly and efficiently to their concerns. The UNIT responds to every concern brought before the team and will work diligently to resolve the issue. This may include referring those matters to the responsible departments within City Hall, or assisting the residents and explaining to them what actions they may need to take to further pursue resolution. It is also common practice for our office to follow up and give updates and timeframes to Danbury’s residents that alert us of their concerns. As a result of being proactive and following up, our department continues to receive positive feedback and gratitude from the residents. We appreciate their support in helping to maintain and improve the quality of life for all residents of Danbury.
For the fiscal year 2016-2017, the UNIT handled over 1,100 quality of life issues. As a result of UNIT intervention, nearly 350 blighted properties littered with debris were cleaned up. These issues create an eyesore in our community that decreases the value of the neighborhood. The accumulation of garbage may lead to foul odors, rodent infestation and further problems. Our department enforces that property owners and tenants keep their properties clean and our follow-up inspections ensure that they are being maintained.
The UNIT also inspects properties subject to illegal, overcrowded and/or unsafe occupancy. Overcrowded apartments can compromise the safety of the tenants that live in these types of situations. Often, tenants are found living in unapproved and unsafe spaces. Areas, such as basements and attics, are common locations for these precarious conditions. In most cases, temperature control is lacking, extension cords are unsafely run throughout the home and most importantly, there is a lack of adequately-sized windows to escape in case of a fire emergency. Of the properties inspected by our department over the last few years, there is no way of measuring the lives that have potentially been saved as a result of the UNIT’s unwavering commitment to eliminate these unsafe living conditions. Additionally, our department responds to complaints regarding unpermitted/illegal construction. Upon inspection, a determination is made if permits are needed and if so, property owners are required to apply for a permit. For the fiscal year 2016-2017, over 100 reports of unsafe living conditions and unpermitted construction were investigated by the UNIT.
With the economic challenges over the past few years, there continue to be occurrences with abandoned and foreclosed homes. This creates concern in the neighborhoods as lawns do not get maintained, debris is often left outside and in some cases, properties are not secure and are subject to criminal mischief activity. Our department has achieved success by involving lenders, real estate agencies, and property preservation companies to ensure that these properties are secured and maintained. It is important to address these issues as quickly as possible. For the fiscal year 2015-2016, over 40 abandoned properties were handled by the UNIT.
The UNIT performs A.C.T.I.O.N. (Active Commitment Towards Improving Our Neighborhoods) on a routine basis. This is a proactive method in which the UNIT patrols Danbury’s neighborhoods and performs visual inspections on properties, as well as interacts with the residents to ensure that quality of life issues are being maintained. Approximately 34% of all UNIT activity was a direct result of ACTION.
Our department also coordinates and oversees community service projects/tasks throughout the city. Clean Start is a program where the UNIT utilizes members of the homeless population and helps put them back to work. Primary tasks such as litter pick-up, minor landscaping, painting and other various jobs are assigned to this group, and in turn, they are compensated by gift cards. This partnership has been a proven success as many improvements around the city have been accomplished. Additionally, our department has also partnered with the State’s Attorney Office and the Danbury Police Department by being assigned individuals that need to complete community service as a result of their transgressions. As one of the largest cities in the state, the UNIT is proud of its continual effort to maintain Danbury as a clean and graffiti free community. The UNIT prides itself on its proactive, relentless pursuit of preserving our neighborhoods and our community and we are very grateful for their efforts, as the results speak for themselves.
Additionally, the UNIT hosts neighborhood meetings for our residents. These meetings, which include Mayor Mark Boughton, focus on quality of life topics that residents wish to speak about within their neighborhood. Furthermore, Danbury’s residents are educated about community standards of health, blight and safety, as well as zoning rules and regulations. After these meetings are held, the UNIT will then follow up by performing inspections in these specific neighborhoods and work with property owners and residents to resolve any quality of life issues.
The enforcement of quality of life issues by our department is supported by the city’s blight ordinances. The Exterior and Structural Blight Ordinances (Section 10-91 through 10-106), provides our department with stronger enforcement authority to curb blighted properties within our community. Property owners who are issued orders are typically given thirty days to remediate the issue or would be subject to daily fines of $100. While assessing fines is not the goal of our department, it is clearly a motivating factor for property owners to bring the issue to compliance right away. For fiscal year 2016-2017, the UNIT has had outstanding success utilizing this enforcement tool, as over 107 orders were sent to property owners for various issues of property and structural blight; many of these being problems/neighbor complaints that had been long standing. The enforcement of this blight ordinance has had a substantial impact in our city. The quality of life in our neighborhoods has been improved, as well as the safety of our residents. Even more significant, is that these improvements have had an immediate impact on the property values of surrounding homes, which is one of the key economic factors for a healthy city. We are proud to share that as a result of this enforcement by our department, properties have been cleaned up, secured, painted, landscaped and even demolished, as well as inoperable vehicles removed from properties.
Our department has become the model of “one-stop shopping,” as residents can submit a complaint regarding any matter of concern and it will be appropriately addressed. The UNIT’s most notable accomplishments are measured everyday as our department works feverishly to preserve and maintain the quality of life in Danbury. Each resolved issue equals a small, individual success resulting in the overall positive appearance of Danbury’s neighborhoods. We pride ourselves on our quick responses, professional service and appropriate follow up to the concerns of the residents of Danbury.
Downtown District Unit
The City of Danbury’s Downtown UNIT Department is charged with the well-being of the Downtown Revitalization Zone (DRZ) and related urban districts. The Downtown UNIT works closely with all City entities and focuses relations with groups such as CityCenter, Main St. Partnership, Downtown Safety Initiative, Spring Street Neighborhood Association and many non-profit entities, thereby bridging the gap between private and public sectors. These initiatives ensure that Danbury’s downtown will continue to be a vibrant and safe urban core for the foreseeable future.
Cooperation from our Police, Fire, Public Works, Health, Welfare, and Zoning Departments has enabled the UNIT to have a critical impact on our ability to provide a safe and business-friendly environment to the downtown. The enforcement of code has been effective due to constant monitoring of downtown, combined with social work and other assistance. The Downtown UNIT has become very adept at reaching all personalities and linking problems with solutions. As a result, new proactive ideas have been initiated to combat these urban core social issues:
- Broken Windows Principle: The theory being that areas tend to stay clean when kept clean and unkempt when kept unkempt; if we do not fix that first broken window, then there will be two, and then three and so on. This principle works only when all interested parties work together to achieve a common goal.
- Development of the Spring Street Neighborhood Association. This association has led to a strengthening of one of Danbury’s oldest and proudest neighborhoods. The neighborhood association has raised awareness of safety and quality of life issues holding several neighborhood meetings and a viable neighborhood watch.
- Community Service for repeat offenders in the DRZ (panhandling, public drinking, graffiti).
- Revolving Door Meetings: These gatherings have brought the brightest and most influential decision makers to real-time actions and solutions. Some of these groups include representatives of Danbury Hospital Department Head of Psychiatry, Director of CityCenter, Police, Lawmakers, and non-profits.
- Growth: Downtown Danbury is transforming with the construction of new luxury apartments, expansion of Naugatuck Community College and the opening of new businesses.
In addition, we continue our brand of umbrella code enforcement pertaining to illegal construction, illegal apartments, sidewalk enforcement, clean communities ordinance, entertainment license protocol, and the overall well-being of our city. The Downtown UNIT works alongside other members of the UNIT to give our entire municipality the most effective and efficient department of its kind. We have always been the statewide leader in innovative hybrid approaches to problem-solving and we will continue to be the most innovative thus far. Our department is proud to be of service to our citizens and will continue to keep Danbury the best city to live, work and be educated.
A house is under foreclosure, is abandoned, and now the property is in disrepair - what can be done?
I believe there is an abandoned car on my street, to whom can I report it?
Please submit a service request for the UNIT, who will then investigate the vehicle.
There is a blighted property on my street, what can be done?
Please submit a service request to the UNIT who will then inspect the property to see if anything can be done to ensure that the quality-of-life remains high for all residents.
To whom do I report a car parked on the front lawn?
You may submit a service request to the UNIT, who will then investigate. If the vehicle is parked during the evening hours or on the weekend, please indicate the times so we can follow up appropriately.
To whom do I report an unregistered car?
Please submit a service request to the UNIT to report a suspected unregistered vehicle and indicate if license plates are on the car or not, and provide said data.
To whom do I report sidewalk parking?
From Monday-Thursday, during the hours of 8am-6pm, please call 311 to report sidewalk parking in order to receive a timely response. During non-business hours for City Hall please contact the Danbury Police Department at 797-4611 to report sidewalk parking. You may submit a service request for the UNIT to periodically check your area for sidewalk parking if it is a constant problem.
Where can I report an accumulation of garbage on a property?
Please submit a service request to the UNIT to report an accumulation of garbage on a property, please indicate if the property is rented, if the homeowner lives there, of if it is abandoned in order to allow for a timelier response.
Where can I report an illegal apartment?
Please submit a service request to the UNIT and indicate where you suspect the illegal apartment is located (attic, basement, etc).
Where can I report illegal dumping?
Please submit a service request to the UNIT and indicate, if possible, what time the debris was dumped. If you happen to have any additional information such as vehicle makes or license plate numbers, please also provide them.
Where can I report suspected overcrowding?
Please submit a service request to the UNIT and indicate how long you suspect this has been going on for as well as the appropriate times for an inspection.
Where do I report suspected illegal construction?
Please submit a service request to the UNIT and indicate what type of work is being done at the location and for how long.