Friday, August 17, 2007


An unofficial follow up to a previous post on liability and demolition costs, via a P-J article from today's paper.

The city has stepped up activity on dealing with blighted properties, but it isn't cheap. I could probably opine more on the issue, the economics and the role of government, but I'll leave it at that. Of a more topical nature is the legal basis. The Jamestown City Code allows the Department of Development to declare buildings hazardous and take them down, while seeking to recover costs from the property owner. The relevant section can be found in section 215 of the City Code. A court order is required, but the Jamestown Lawyer has never been a witness to the process to know how it unfolds in practice.


Anonymous Dee said...

I have never been involved in such a procedure but did get to witness one such case near my home.

Basically, a landlord rented out the house and let the house go to ruin. He then found a person, unable to get convential credit and sold the house on land contract to the new owner.

Unfortunately, the new guy found himself with much to do on house and little means and know-how toi do it. So the city was cracking down on the owner who then promptly signed over the house to the new guy.

Now, I suppose that guy is culpable too since he was trying to get a house for little money but really it burns me that someone can make such a mess of things and walk away without penalty.

Anyway, the city gave the new guy several months to get things fixed, then 8-9 months after the transfer put one of those famous yellow stickers on the house.

From that point on, it took about a year to actually get the house to the point of demolition. I believe there were numerous court appearances. The DoD folks had to make numerous trips to the property. The police were involved since they control when a person can work on a house with a not fit to occupy sticker. Finally when the demolition order came, the various utilities had to come and unhook lines from the house. And of course the hazardous waste people needed to come to take various materials off the house before it could be demolished.

My point is that there are so many people involved in a demolition and really a lot of expense to the city in addition to the actual hazardous waste remoal and demolition costs. Really, if someone added up all the other things, I think the cost would be enormous.

2:41 PM  

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