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Neighbors’ Night Out: Annual gatherings go a long way toward keeping the peace in Davis

By From page C7 | September 20, 2011

The city of Davis, UC Davis and Associated Students of UC Davis are planning the sixth annual Davis Neighbors’ Night Out on Sunday, Oct. 9.

The event provides an opportunity for neighborhoods to come together to increase familiarity and communication by way of a block party.

“It is a fun and casual way to meet your neighbors,” organizers said.

When personalities and lifestyles clash, neighbors can become a source of constant annoyance. But there are ways to prevent the relationship from getting too prickly.

Communication, common courtesy and following local laws are key to keeping neighborhoods peaceful, said Cindy Kangas, who has been living in her West Davis home for 25 years.

During that time, Kangas said, she has “definitely” considered moving because of noisy, rude and otherwise obnoxious neighbors. Often, it is college students staying in rental homes — sometimes owned by absentee landlords — who cause the most grief, she said.

With the presence of UC Davis, more than half of Davis households are renters, which could cause tensions in neighborhoods. Things like unkempt lawns, indoor furniture kept outside and multiple cars parked for days in front of neighbors’ houses are an everyday eyesore, Kangas said.

Loud music and parties that last long past the city’s noise limits — 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. — make matters worse, she said.

It is in everyone’s best interest to be responsible neighbors, Kangas said.

“It makes for a more peaceful living environment for everybody,” she said, adding, “It just promotes good will in the neighborhood.”

Neighbors’ Night Out is meant to encourage communication, respect and safety in neighborhoods.

“The more people you know in the neighborhood, the more they’ll be looking out for you and you’ll be looking out for them,” said the city of Davis’ Stacey Winton.

Participation has grown significantly since the event’s first year, in 2006, when 60 neighborhoods joined in the festivities. Last year, there were 130 parties throughout Davis.

Parties can revolve around a brunch, appetizers, potluck, barbecue, desserts or any other social event where neighbors can meet and exchange contact information.

Residents can sign up to host a block party up until the day of the event. The sign-up form and a list of participating neighborhoods are available at http://cityofdavis.org/neighbors.

Students who sponsor a party can win raffle prizes, such as gift certificates to local restaurants. The list of prizes is available at http://safeparty.ucdavis.edu/message/dnno.html.

Supplies — invitations, reminder door hangers, lawn signs, maps, balloons, pens, glow necklaces and name tags — are available until they run out, Winton said. The city also will waive fees for street closure permits, given enough time to process the requests before the event, Winton said.

This year, the city again received a grant from the Target Corp. as part of its Vital Community Partnership with Law Enforcement — National Night Out Campaign.

For more event information or to learn how to host a party that night, visit the city of Davis website at http://www.cityofdavis.org/neighbors or call the city offices at (530) 757-5610.

Information on smart partying and being good neighbors is available at http://safeparty.ucdavis.edu.

— Reach Crystal Lee at [email protected] or (530) 747-8057. Comment on this story at www.davisenterprise.com

It’s party time

What: Neighbors’ Night Out block parties, potlucks, barbecues and ice cream socials throughout Davis at which neighbors can get to know each other

When: Noon to 9 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 10

Sign up: http://cityofdavis.org/neighbors; party supplies are available until they run out, and students who sponsor a party can win raffle prizes, such as gift certificates to local restaurants

Be a good neighbor

Introduce yourself to your neighbors, exchange contact information and work to maintain good relations.

Abide by the city’s noise ordinance, which prohibits loud noises in residential areas between the hours of 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Give your neighbors a “heads up” if you plan to host a large party. Set reasonable limits on the total number of large parties you host per year.

Remind your guests that they are in a residential area. You are responsible for your guests’ behavior and your own behavior.

Clean up after you host a social event.

Work with neighbors to host an annual gathering of the neighborhood.

If you have a concern regarding a specific neighbor, talk to that neighbor and try to resolve the problem before filing a complaint.

Davis is a city of bicyclists and pedestrians: Drive carefully and defensively.

Do not block neighbors’ driveways or the sidewalks. If your vehicle is parked on the street, move it at least once every five days.

Make provisions for guest parking for large parties.

If you plan to go out, make sure to designate a driver first. ASUCD offers a safe-rides program.

Make sure you or your landlord maintain your property in accordance with all fire, health, zoning and building codes, including a well-kept lawn and landscaping.

Know the trash and recycling days. Remove your trash and recycling containers from the street when they are emptied.

Crystal Lee

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