Summer is here, and many of us are spending more time outside. As the New Urbanism design of Stapleton includes features such as smaller lots, shared green spaces, front porches and back patios, we live in close quarters and many of us are no strangers to catching up with neighbors whenever we encounter each other. Please be respectful of those who may be dozing nearby, ensuring that your joyful embracement of summer (including: outdoor music, partying friends, and conversational canines) are less audible between 10pm and 7am, which are the designated times referenced in the Denver Disturbance of the Peace Noise Ordinance. When enjoying pocket parks, alleys, yards and porches, keep in mind that human and canine voices can travel and disrupt sleep during late hours of the night and wee hours of the morning. A good night’s sleep makes good neighbors.
With all of the rain, plants are having a growth spurt this summer. Many houses in Stapleton have a sub-HOA for yard maintenance; however, for houses that do not, owners are responsible for maintaining space around the sidewalks and the tree lawn (strip between sidewalk and street, owned by the city, but maintained by the resident). Trees with branches over the sidewalk or street that hang lower than 8-ft. high should be pruned so that pedestrians and parked cars don’t run into the branches. Waiting for growth to lift a low branch higher will not be successful (as a kind and patient neighbor taught the author of this article last winter). Pruning is best done after leaves have fallen, so mid-winter is the time to trim back.
Dog poop is fertilizer and should be left on grass and in green spaces… FALSE! One gram, about the weight of a dollar bill, contains bacteria—23 million fecal bacteria that our wastewater treatment facilities are not designed to filter, so pet wastes should be kept out of street gutters and storm drains. The environment can handle a few dogs in a square mile; however, in an urban environment, far more households have members who poop outside. Cat poop can contain parasites that are extremely toxic to pregnant women. The most effective way for pet owners to limit their pet’s contribution to source water contamination is simply to clean up and dispose of pet waste. One of the top complaints received on SUN Survey open-ended response opportunities is about neighbors not cleaning up pet waste. Also, a reminder from our friends at Bluff Lake to keep your domesticated animals out of the wildlife refuge. www.epa.gov/safewater/sourcewater/pubs/fs_swpp_petwaste.pdf
Know and respect who is near you. Denver Police reminds us to call for a patrol if something seems out of the ordinary … but how do you define what is ordinary amongst those around you? While still respecting privacy of those around you, and retaining as much privacy as you would prefer, share with your neighbors so that they can help. Create a block directory so that you know how to contact the people near you for open garage doors, car lights left on, etc. Storing the directory in a Google cloud and giving the people on your block access to keep it updated takes the burden off of one person for keeping it current. On many blocks, the block captain will initiate this list. Email SUN to inquire whether your block has a current block captain (or let SUN know if you’ve been the contact in the past, but should be removed from the list). SUNoutreach@gmail.com
Written by Amanda Allshouse, who is not a perfect neighbor, but appreciates reminders from her neighbors on areas where she could improve.
All adult Stapleton residents are encouraged to take the new SUN survey on mosquitoes, Eastbridge Town Center and other subjects at StapletonUnitedNeighbors.com