Keeping up appearances

Photo by Karen Zautyk Crumbling stairs and weedy walkway need attention.

By Karen Zautyk

“Borough asks residents to maintain their property” read the headline on the press release sent out by municipal officials. “New effort on property upkeep initiated,” it said.
North Arlington has always looked pretty nice to us, but does this announcement indicate problems? Has the place become messy? Disheveled? Does it no longer care about its appearance? This could be a symptom of depression, right?
Symptom of recession is more precise.
Part of the problem rests with foreclosures and abandoned properties, where the hedges and lawns are left to their own devices and building upkeep is nil. Part may rest with a lack of financial resources among homeowners who have managed to make the mortgage payments but have little left over for, say, repainting their house or making other exterior repairs.

North Arlington has not become an eyesore.  Drive around town and you will see manicured lawns and pristine houses. The unkempt properties appear to be in  the vast minority – and the borough wants to keep it that way. Hence,  heading off problems before they mushroom.
The goal is not just maintenance of property, but of property values.
“We’ve had a property maintenance code for a long time,”  said Robert Kairys, the borough’s construction official, but now “we’re taking a more pro-active approach.”


To read the full story, see this week’s issue of The Observer.


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