After a series of complaints regarding people who were engaged in illicit activity such as dealing drugs, Laurel Park residents were frustrated with their options to address the issue — so they’re pushing to create new ones.
The Laurel Park Committee to Fight Back Against Nuisance Properties was created last year to see if there was something residents could do to get consistently problematic tenants out of the neighborhood. Headed by resident Chris Jaensch, the group has begun fighting for the creation of a process that would allow private citizens to bring cases in front of the city’s Nuisance Abatement Board.
“The board seems to prefer that the police drive that process, but it's hard without evidence,” Jaensch said.
Sarasota Police Department Officer Tyler Rossnagle acknowledged it was often difficult for police to make arrests based on residential complaints, but said it was important for the neighborhood not to be discouraged by a lack of immediate progress.
“Just call us every time,” Rossnagle said. “With nuisance abatement, if you call, and call, and call, and they have a bunch of case numbers, they're going to take note of it.”
The committee’s goal is to eventually provide a handout for residents with information about who to call or what to do when they have a recurring issue with a neighbor. The group is still in its earliest stages, but they’re optimistic about making progress.
"Hopefully we'll be able to come up with more answers as the year goes by," Jaensch said.
Contact David Conway at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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