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VACANT/BOARDED STRUCTURES Deanna JeffersonSmith Assistant City Attorney/Community Prosecutor John Hancock Code Department Acting Assistant Director.

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Presentation on theme: "VACANT/BOARDED STRUCTURES Deanna JeffersonSmith Assistant City Attorney/Community Prosecutor John Hancock Code Department Acting Assistant Director."— Presentation transcript:

1 VACANT/BOARDED STRUCTURES Deanna JeffersonSmith Assistant City Attorney/Community Prosecutor John Hancock Code Department Acting Assistant Director

2 2 Council’s Strategic Goals Make Fort Worth the Nation’s Safest, Cleanest, and Most Attractive Major City. 2

3 3 Purpose Make public aware of current problems with structures that are vacant and boarded Show negative impact of vacant/boarded structures throughout the city Propose new vacant/boarded structure program Get feedback from public Report public’s feedback to Council 3

4 4 Current Ordinance Current ordinances address when a building has to be boarded/secured, but does not address time limitations. Collapse hazards can be demolished through the Building Standards Commission. Non-collapse and non-hazardous structures cannot be demolished in the same manner. Many vacant/boarded structures are not collapse hazards; therefore, a demolition order cannot be obtained. 4

5 5 Effects of Vacant/Boarded Structures Neglected structures create a perception in the community that no one cares; These properties attract transients, drug users, drug dealers, public intoxication, prostitution, and other criminal activities; Source: “The Revitalization of Vacant Properties: Where Broken Windows Meet Smart Growth” International City/County Management Association 5 Overall, these structures have an adverse impact on quality of life, feeling of safety, and pose serious threats to public health, welfare and safety.

6 6 Local Impact of Vacant/Boarded Structures Blight on community Signs of a neighborhood in distress Contributes to the degrading quality of life and health, safety, and welfare of a community 6

7 7 Crime related to Vacant/Boarded Structures The Police Department identified and researched four vacant/boarded structures with significant call and arrest volumes (Data from February 2007 to May 2008). Locations 1 and 2 86 calls for service 4,500 minutes time on call 34 total arrests 44 total citations Location 3: 1 robbery 1 arson 2 drug arrests 8 cited for occupying substandard housing Location 4: 4 narcotic search warrants 9 arrests for weapons, drugs, and warrants

8 88 Category I Structures Category I structures exist in such a condition that further neglect could result in the structure becoming a “dangerous building”: Inadequate maintenance Dilapidation Decay Faulty construction Damage from fire or exposure to the elements Examples: Collapsing Wracked, warped, buckled or settled Remains of structure after partial demolition

9 99 Category II Structures Category II structures exist in such a condition of disrepair that further neglect could result in the structure becoming a Category I. Multiple defects or conditions which would require permits to do repairs. Examples: Damage from a fire or natural disaster. Damage from deteriorated shingles, holes in the roof or rotted decking. Rotten, damaged or missing siding.

10 10 Other City’s Practices Pittsburgh, PA: Owner registers vacant building within 30 days of building becoming vacant. $300 fee for failure to register vacant building. Exemption for building that have suffered fire damage or damaged caused by extreme weather conditions. The buildings are inspected for enforcement and compliance. Report to Mayor and City Council every 6 months. Violation or presenting false evidence results in a $300 daily fine. 10

11 11 Other City’s Practices Continued Cincinnati, OH Owner required to obtain a boarding license after structure is determined to be uninhabitable. If a structure is rehabilitated or renovated the license is no longer required. Fee for the initial year is $900 and then increases to $2,700 a year. If fees are not paid, the City can institute a civil action and file a lien on the property leading to foreclosure. Owner must maintain liability insurance in the amount of $300, for residential property, and $1 million for commercial property. 11

12 Current OrdinanceConcepts Unlimited timeframe structures can be secured with boards Limit the time a structure can be boarded. None Require registration, compliance plan and a fee if not rehabilitated in a reasonable time. None Define minimum boarding and securing standards None Owners must register structure if it remains vacant and boarded for more than 30 days. Registration can be accomplished by mail, fax, internet or in person None Must meet specific boarding requirements. None Owner must submit an action plan. None Owners of vacant/boarded structures must pay a fee if structure remains vacant and boarded for a period greater than 90 days. None Consider demolition of vacant/boarded structures that have no historic or rehab potential. None Exception for structures being built/remodeled under active building permits. Concepts

13 13 Consequences for Non-Compliance Fines Building Standards Commission Chapter 54 Lawsuit Enforcement of Municipal Ordinances Chapter 125 Lawsuit Nuisance Abatement 13

14 Overgrown Vegetation


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