Nextdoor.com has come to Santa Paula
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula News
Published: August 16, 2013
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula Times
Whether you live north, south, east or west, chances are you want to know what’s going on in your neighborhood and now there’s an online site that lets you connect. Nextdoor.com has come to Santa Paula and it’s a wonderful day in the neighborhood - make that 11 neighborhoods - that make up the city Nextdoor map.
Santa Paula Fire Captain Steve Lazenby, the city’s emergency preparedness coordinator is overseeing the introduction of the Nextdoor.com service to Santa Paulans. Lazenby said it’s taken him “probably six weeks” working with the San Francisco-based company to carve Santa Paula into neighborhoods, establish boundaries and launch the service.
According to its website, “Nextdoor.com is the private social network for you, your neighbors and your community. It’s the easiest way for you and your neighbors to talk online and make all of your lives better in the real world. Thousands of neighborhoods are already using Nextdoor to build happier, safer places to call home.”
People are using the service to quickly get the word out about a break-in, or in the case of the Oaks’ Nextdoor group - so far the most active in Santa Paula’s network - a series of car burglaries. You can use Nextdoor to “Organize a Neighborhood Watch group, track down a trustworthy babysitter, find a good plumber or who does the best paint job in town, ask for help keeping an eye out for a lost dog, find a new home for an outgrown bike or even finally call that nice man down the street by the first name.”
The mission of Nextdoor is “to bring back a sense of community to the neighborhood, one of the most important communities in each of our lives. We are for neighbors.”
Lazenby said he has been getting a positive reaction: “In almost every case people are receptive... some at first are kind of skeptical, not sure what benefit there would be to join, but in most cases when I explain the whole effort is to help them communicate with their neighbors,” from spreading the word about parties to warning about criminal activity in the area, “they start to really like the idea. I think in most cases we don’t know” what is going on in or should be shared with those living in the same specific area. Each person who registers is carefully screened to ensure they are Nextdoor.
So far four area neighborhoods have met the minimum of 10 members and have launched: North Ojai Road, Old Town, the Oaks and View, but Lazenby said others are getting close. Hillview Estates is going to be its own neighborhood within the Telegraph Road Nextdoor area, and East Area 1 has been designated for future membership.
Nextdoor neighborhoods and boundaries are: North Ojai Road, everything north of Royal Oaks, “period,” said Lazenby; the Oaks, Santa Paula Creek to Bradford to Royal Oaks and including Ernest and Encino drives; View, north of Santa Paula Street to the city limits to hillsides north and east to the west of Cemetery Road.
Old Mill is south of Bedford, east of 10th Street to the eastern city limit and north above the 126; the Lemonwood Industrial Park area to 12th Street; Santa Maria south of 126 from 12th to the west city limits that includes three mobile home parks; Richard Road, eastside bounded by Steckel west by Peck north of the freeway; Telegraph, north of 126 and west of Peck; Hillview Estates within that boundary; and Old Town, south of Santa Paula Street (both sides), west of 10th Street, east of Steckel and north of Highway 126.
Said Lazenby, “What really interested me in Nextdoor was the ease of communication. What we’ve always encouraged and CERT (Citizens Emergency Response Team) has always encouraged is get to know our neighbors... it’s important to have that contact.” And, in times of emergency it would be especially important to know “who they are and what their capabilities are.”
What is beginning as a trickle could turn into a flood if the more than 200 Nextdoor members in the Oaks neighborhood is an example.
Lazenby believes everyone - whether individuals, families or businesses - should sign up for Nextdoor. “If you have a business in town you can sign up for your residence neighborhood” as well as the area where the business is located.
Nextdoor easy to use and unobtrusive: “You can control the number of communications you get, turn them off and then occasionally check and see what’s out there... and it’s an activity that would dovetail perfectly with Neighborhood Watch.” The City of Ventura, said Lazenby, “was kind of the model for us” on the service.
Nextdoor is growing nationwide. Once you sign up you can invite others to join; even if they don’t live in your neighborhood they will be directed to the correct Nextdoor area when they register.
For more information or to sign up, visit Nextdoor.com or contact Lazenby, email@example.com.