LETTER: ‘Would Burien Consider a Resident Incentive Program?’

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The B-Town Blog nor its staff:]

Burien has a unique, favorable geographical location that caters to a very premium, high quality neighborhood which could be as nice or nicer than Normandy Park or comparable “higher class” neighborhoods. However, the only thing lacking is residents being able to maintain their properties, keep their yards tidy, houses painted, and most importantly, areas along the road neat and tidy. The area does not have sidewalks which make this difficult; however Normandy Park residents rallied to the idea of planting grass right up to the edge of the road. The result yields much higher average home value and much less riff raff residents.

As an owner of the house on SW 149th Street, one can say from experience that transforming a house from a White Center dump to a quality, tidy clean home is a lot easier than people think! It just takes incentive.

What we wondered is:

  • Would Burien consider a resident incentive program, where participating stores (e.g. miller paint, ace hardware) offer an incentive, and the city of Burien offer tax or other incentives to residents who can provide valid, legitimate evidence (receipts and photos) of cosmetic appearance improvement?

This would also be a local stimulus package, as well as raised home values, justification for raising of property taxes, and overall a raised standard of excellence, and hopefully inspire the residents of the area to look after their properties more. Areas like Bellevue and Kirkland are nice because they have higher standards, and we need to commit to a culture of continuous improvement, which will take effort but it is worthwhile.

Also if commercial business could be required to maintain some level of cosmetic decency. Increased tree planting to shield unsightly commercial locations might be easier.

Could residents to rally and send an email? Sort of an “email petition”!

Thanks for working to make Seahurst a better place!!

Kind Regards,
Ian Gracey

[Have an opinion or concern you’d like to share with our 70,000+ monthly Readers? Please send us your Letter to the Editor via email. Include your full name, please remain civil and, pending our review, we’ll most likely publish it.]

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30 Responses to “LETTER: ‘Would Burien Consider a Resident Incentive Program?’”
  1. Riff Raff says:

    Nice neighbors don’t just live in nice homes. Community is not created with paint. Ignorance begets fear, fear restricts community. Enguaging your neighbors is key. “Riff Raff” comes when good people hide in their homes.

  2. Section 8 Sucks says:

    Too many Section 8 renters & absentee landlords is the biggest problem in Burien. Why would a renter or landlord care about their homes appearance when the gov’t always pays the rent regardless. Section 8 lowlifes GET OUT of BURIEN!!

  3. Eaton B. Verz says:

    I think Seahurst should ceede from Burien. We will throw Mike martin in the deal.

  4. Athena says:

    I think this is a fabulous idea. I am a life-long Burien resident who has long bemoaned the lack of aesthetic continuity throughout the entire city, neighborhoods and businesses alike. I also grew up on 149th, which presents a good example of this very condition. I don’t think anyone is looking to create a “Stepford” neighborhood, but matching efforts and levels of pride would be nice.

    Sure, community is not created with paint. But it’s a productive first step, and the suggestion that aesthetics are not an integral part of the community-building process is rather short-sighted. Individuals committed to maintaining their homes are out in their yards and local businesses where they have the chance to engage. And a tax incentive system is a benevolent way to get it going (as opposed to regulation).

  5. Ghost of Maplewild says:

    This is ridiculous. Have you ever thought that these homeowners have little money? maybe they have fallen on hard times? Or are physically unable to get out? I’m sure they wish their homes were as nice as the neighbors. Maybe a better Idea is getting to know your neighbor. Put together a neighborhood work party to help them?

  6. TcB says:

    Perhaps we should start with better code enforcement, or subsidized trash removal (I know some of us have neighbours who are pack rats with back yards that look like dumps) for those who can’t afford it. No cars on your grass, no “businesses” in the street working on various levels of broken down cars. If there are codes exisiting they should be reported (by us) and policed (by City Gov).
    I speak as someone who should be calling more often and reporting those who don’t care.
    I think I’ll get right on that….

  7. TcB says:

    forgot to mention Front yards that looks like dumps….

  8. Lee Moyer says:

    Those obsessed with class, lack it.

  9. Lisa says:

    I have to say that the appearance of my neighbors’ homes rarely crosses my mind as I drive to and from my house every day. My house is somewhat appealing on the exterior, although I do need a new roof. My neighbor has garden art, i.e. a toilet with a plant in it. I just grow the hedge higher.

    I do like an idea promoting incentives as opposed to punitive measures.

  10. Polly says:

    yes, nice looking houses are more appealing…especially to riff-raff, thieves, and degenerates. just for you, dear writer, i will keep my yard clear of junked cars and miscellaneous broken yard utensils, but i will not spend my hard-earned money to make my house look “nice” so that it can be broken into the next week all because i wanted to make my house the envy of the neighborhood.

    if you are looking for manicured & lush landscaping lawns, you can move to magnolia or over to the eastside & have your luxurious home broken into by rich riff-raff, thieves, and degenerates.

    • TcB says:

      Fear is a powerful emotion. Don’t let it ruin your life.

      • TbC says:

        Good to know someone has all the answers!

        • TcB says:

          It’s such an ego trip for me that you use a mixed up version of my name for purposes that can only be described as obfuscation, and something like a weird way to “MK Ultra” in blogspace.

          Luckily for you no one notices what you’re doing.

          • TbC says:

            Sorry! My response should have went with your comment. You must have been involved in the MK ultra project! It worked on me!! Maybe it was the aliens that paintballed your house.

    • Tom says:

      Good golly miss Polly! The house that looks uncared for is more likely to suffer crime than a place that looks well tended.

      I assume that you do not live on my block.

    • Polly says:

      you call it “fear,” i call it “common sense.” let’s put it this way…my house may not be the most aesthetically appealing house on the block, but it IS the one house that hasn’t been violated. so, if “it ain’t broke…”

  11. John Poitras says:

    Thanks for posting this article Ian. This is exactly what the BTown blog message boards are intended for, people looking for solutions and ways to improve our quality of life.
    We do have codes on the books to prevent eyesores and garbage accumulating in a neighbors yards and they need to be enforced. However on the other side of the equation a little positive reinforcement for incentive I think is a good idea.

  12. TbC says:

    You did! Mission acomplished, Houston.

  13. TcB says:

    Let’s get back to the matter at hand. It would be so easy for this to devolve…because i have so much information to print…
    but I won’t.

    This was the question:
    Would Burien consider a resident incentive program, where participating stores (e.g. miller paint, ace hardware) offer an incentive, and the city of Burien offer tax or other incentives to residents who can provide valid, legitimate evidence (receipts and photos) of cosmetic appearance improvement?

    First, we must have a standard set, to offer any monies for improvements.

    What are those standards? You can’t get a tax break for just planting some flowers, right?

    We are talking about some pretty bad eyesore properties here I would think..

    Perhaps concerned citizens would start a website posting homes that fit the standard and those who don’t? For everyone to see and vote on? How far would that go?

    I don’t know if this kind of thing would work, but I don’t see any real questions being posed either.

    • TbC says:

      I think you should post your information because that has got to be more entertaining than you posting the obvious continuously. This idea IMHO is dumb. You end up with a few elitists making the rules that suit just them and it is the poorer people who continue to suffer. We need more real police,not house police. That is what we pay Jim Bibby for. Go back to studying your thesarus and throw us some new big words in your next post. It’s reminds me of my 10th grade vocabulary tests. Please post your info that you are so gracious to spare us from. THAT I look forward to.

      • Shari says:

        I completely agree—and would agree in all caps if it were not rude–with your statement regarding not burdening lower-income households with restrictions that add even more financial obligations that further marginalize them and make their financial goals even harder to reach. But what do you think about getting tougher on violations by absentee landlords, who I would think would not be “poor” if they have enough assets to own “investment” property…if they are not living up to their obligations to provide a safe, healthy place to live, then a lower-income family renting that house is in a sense victimized because they are not allowed to make “improvements” to the property and yet their landlord doesn’t either? And please don’t take this as me lumping all renters into a bad category– I was a renter for much of my adult life. But I have had a couple of truly lousy landlords who have refused to make basic repairs and safety enhancements to the grounds or structures and I assume some of what we see around Burien might be the result of those kind of situations? No data, just conjecture on my part. I think Seattle just passed some kind of advancement to the code enforcement statutes that gives more authority to get tough on landlords who don’t act responsibly… again, I think they just passed such a thing but am not certain.

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