Boundaries & Rental Registration

Neighborhood Boundaries & Rental Registration

The Neighborhood Boundaries and Rental Registration initiative relates to the Neighborhood Organization Workbook (NOW), historical research on RNC, the MAP, and research done on homeowner/renter rights. It relates specifically to the NOW Appendix A: “Additional Information;” “Getting to Know Your Neighbors;” “Solving Neighborhood Problems;” and “Robert’s Rules of Order: A Short Summary.” It also relates to the implementation section of the MAP, under Civic and Social Engagement where it states, “All civic and community groups should create opportunities to explore solutions to issues and problems of concern to the community. They should seek alignment with the recommendations of MAP and collaborate across interests, missions, and constituencies.”

Why this is important

RNC has an opportunity for improved relations between the student and nonstudent population. Familiarity and responsibility between these groups will lead the community to stronger identity, efficiency and cooperation. The community of Muncie’s extent to which residents talk with neighbors, and do favors for neighbors were measured at the metro area scale from 0 to 2. Muncie received a 0.92 (Livability Index Data). The social involvement in this community is lower than the national average of 0.98.

This relates to the neighborhood survey that shows most of the professions in the neighborhood are students and the largest age group is 20 to 24 (Riverside-Normal City Survey). Analyzing these results leads to the possibility that there may be weakened relationships between the student population and the local population as well as homeowners and renters (mostly students).

The goal is to:

  • Help residents describe the benefits of living in the neighborhood (to assist with branding and campaigns).
  • Identify goals that the neighborhood has and the timeline for those goals.
  • Identify the boundaries of the neighborhood areas to help get people together.
  • Identify available participants and resources.
  • Resolve conflict between homeowners, landlords and renters.
  • Improve communication, and encouraging cooperation.
  • Discover how to be a good neighbor referencing the MAP and the NOW which includes Figure 1, “How to Be a Good Neighbor.”
goodneighbor

Figure 1: How to Be a Good Neighbor. Source

A majority of RNC residents agreed that this initiative has a high priority level. This, along with other high priority initiatives chosen by the neighborhood, can be where the neighborhood association continues to identify the uniqueness of their neighborhood and the assets of the people. As a high priority initiative, this will be one of the first steps to improving the community.

What this will involve

Boundaries: The purpose of this initiative is to help with identifying the area where residents live. It is apparent that some non-locals as well as locals may not realize their inclusion in a neighborhood because they are not informed about the neighborhood in which they reside. This part of the initiative includes locating history of the land.

Before the properties were all combined, the RNC area was part Riverside (then a town), Normal-City, and Muncie. Riverside contained 142 acres and had a population of approximately 570. It was divided into five districts and governed by a three man board: the marshal, secretary, and treasurer. It was a small, high-class, self-governing town for about 16 years. It was later voted into annexation though a petition, which showed the boundaries of the newly composed properties.

The Boundaries, Projects & Places Identity map attached to the suitability analysis part of this document is an image of places and features that will help identify the current neighborhood edges. This priority map shows some of the most relevant locations and identities in and surrounding the neighborhood which should be the focus areas. These locations are significant because the facilities inside the community can begin building relationships with the facilities and institutions outside of the community. The legend includes historic buildings and features, museums, bike sites/lanes and cultural trails, public transit hubs, libraries, natural areas, parks and active recreation, restoration effort sites, significant habitats, farmer’s markets, community gardens, eco-buildings (e.g., green buildings, LEED approved), government-owned properties (which are more difficult sites to change or access), and the neighborhood boundary.

The Boundaries map will also help to design future neighborhood plans, specifically for signs and wayfinding maps similar to Figure 2. The map will also be used in preparation for Muncie’s future development endeavors.

NormalCity

Figure 2: RNC Sign Charrette Graphic. Image: Jasmine Mason.

Rental Registration Law/Resident and Homeowner Rights: The reason this initiative is so closely associated with identity and resident relations is because the enforcement or lack of enforcement of the property laws can lead to conflict. Not being informed on the legal rights of tenants and homeowners may lead to conflict as well. This part of the initiative will help to discover new ways to build closeness among the community members. Also, the goal is to help the city of Muncie put ordinances back into place or revise them. It is best to leave repercussion up to the law in place and work to revise the law if need be. The statistics below were borrowed from Corporation for National & Community Service: Volunteering and Civic Life in America and United We Serve. Documents are from the City of Muncie Building Commissioner’s Office.

  • Participation and Volunteering (See also Tenant Engagement)
    • Volunteering in community rates sit at the 25%-30% range in Indiana.
    • The most volunteering happens in religious settings/churches. Educational is second.
      • Work with local churches and schools to seek volunteers and ways to improve relations with the groups not in attendance.
    • Fundraisers are the most successful volunteer activity in Indiana.
    • Largest volunteer group by age is 34-64. The second largest is 16-19. The least is 20-24. The 75 and older beats the college student demographic in volunteering.
      • Aligns with the churches and schools demographic. The high school, early college, and middle age groups are the most voluntarily involved. Priority then should focus on improving relations with 20-24 age demographic. In RNC that demographic is largely college students.
    • Resident/Homeowners Rights and Relations (When a complaint is filed or heard, see to these documents).
      • Be sure that every homeowner has filled out a Rights and Responsibilities of Tenants and owners Affidavit of Occupancy. Discuss it at meetings involving a complaint. Document.
        • If any of the agreements in these documents have been violated, work to improve enforcement. Discuss them at meetings and speak with neighbors before filing a complaint. If conflict cannot be settled, refer to the following document on what steps to take next.
      • View document ‘Rental Ordinance”. Document 2. Relevant sections are as follows:
        • Admission and Enforcement
          • Enforcement Authority
        • Condemnation
          • Occupancy of Building
        • Tenancy Agreements and Variances
          • Tenancy Agreements
        • Environmental Requirements
          • Exterior Property Area
          • Exterior Structure
        • Space and Occupancy Requirements
          • Occupancy Requirements
        • Responsibilities of Persons
          • Penalty

What funding sources can be utilized and how

When it comes to project funding within the community that will help solve some of the housing community’s issues, the city staff can help by applying for federal grants and programs. Federal grants are best utilized because the money from the local and state level is generally supplied by federal programs. In most cases city departments, not neighborhood associations, should be the agent for applying for the grants for the neighborhood in need. City staff and neighborhood associations share responsibility for developing lasting solutions, workshops, and budgeting that many of these programs require to be set in place before grants are utilized. Examples of projects that might lead to improving renter/homeowner relations include improving streets, sidewalks, drainage, and utilities. The neighborhood association would participate to help provide project analysis and inventory. The city staff can receive funding from these agencies:

  • US Department of Agriculture
    • Healthy Food Financing Initiative (for implementing a grocery)
  • Environmental Protection Agency
    • Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities
  • US Department of Health and Human Services
    • Community Transformation Grants Small Communities Program
  • US Department of Housing and Urban Development
    • Building Neighborhood Capacity Program Training and Technical Assistance
    • Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing Grants
    • Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Program
    • Choice Neighborhoods Initiative Planning Grant
    • Community Development Block Grants
    • Neighborhood Initiative Grants
    • Neighborhood Stabilization Program
    • Sustainable Communities Community Challenge Grants (Integrated Planning and Investment Grants)
    • Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants (Investment Planning Grants)
    • Sustainable Communities Research Grant Program
  • US Department of Treasury
    • Community Development Financial Institutions Programs
  • The neighborhood association can set up an online fundraiser to help raise money.
    • Ex: Go Fund Me
  • The neighborhood association can apply for grants.
    • Ex: KaBoom playground grant to fill vacant lots

Contact information for Funding/Assistance sources

Department of Community Development
300 N. High St. City Hall
Muncie, IN 47305-1639
Phone:   (765) 747-4825
Fax:        (765) 747-4898
Contact: Terry Whitt Bailey, Community Development Director
Email:  tbailey@cityofmuncie.com
http://www.cityofmuncie.com/muncie-community-development.htm

Building Commissioners Office
300 N. High St. City Hall
Muncie, IN 47305-1639
Phone:   (765) 747-4862
Contact: Craig Nichols, Building Commissioner
Email: cnichols@cityofmuncie.com
http://www.cityofmuncie.com/building-commissioner-muncie.htm

Grant resource links
The Reconnecting America Federal Funding Matrix has a list of previous federal grants and programs available to help neighborhoods and communities that qualify. Click the link to see what RNC is applicable for. Be sure to search for the grants online for the most current grant information. Also try these web pages:

Suitability analysis

This initiative applies to the entire neighborhood. The Boundaries map with inventory on projects and places works together with this initiative. This map identifies priority places that give background to current and historical assets of the neighborhood. This gives insight on future development, encouraging focus on how important entrances to a space can help define a space. Rental registration is a ‘revising of existing documents’ initiative and is not connected directly to any map. It is used to educate all residents on what documentation there is, what it is about, which ones are needed for a particular incident, and instruct them on how to go about altering these documents as necessary and as a community.

Priority_Relations_Identity_JM_3

Summary of relevant case studies

Case Study One: Old West End Pocket Park

This is a historic, familiar and growing neighborhood in the City of Muncie. Their neighborhood pocket park project is a good example of the forces required to carry out improvement in the neighborhood based on cooperation and improved relationships among the community. The Old West End Neighborhood Association developed a vacant lot into a community asset. Located at the southwest corner of Cherry and Main Streets, the pocket park is designed for one parcel. This small park is a testament to neighborhood collaboration. Volunteers poured and finished the concrete bases for the park benches as seen in Figure 3.

Source.

case study 1


Figure 3: Old West End Community Volunteers. Source

Case Study Two: Old Fourth Ward – Atlanta, Georgia

This neighborhood has a good basis for community development that is similar in community drive and spirit. The Historic Fourth Ward Park Conservancy is a nonprofit organization with heavily-based community support. They are dedicated to enhancing the maintenance and security of the park while advocating for the full realization of the park plan. MAP has a similar overall community garden plan for Muncie and its neighborhoods. Figure 4 shows the community volunteers implementing porous pavement and improving landscape.

Source.

case study 2

Figure 4: Old Fourth Ward Park Volunteering. Source

Additional websites of interest
http://www.insideoutmuncie.com/

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