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Thread: Something better than Fix or Flat program?

  1. #1

    Something better than Fix or Flat program?

    Our community has a fix or flatten program. At first glance is sounds like it would eliminate "blighted areas", but it seems that by the time the city gets to the building -- it's so bad that the owner just says here tear it down.

    Has other cities come up with something that would encourage the owner to "fix or sell". The emphasis on absentee landlords or owners to preserve and care for buildings rather than just doing nothing. To somehow preserve the historic or older buildings rather than just letting them run down, and when the owner has gotten everything they can out of the building in rents just turning it over to the city. Thank you.

  2. #2
    It starts with a serious commitment to code enforcement, for both owner-occupied and rental housing equally. Landlords and low-income owners will howl and squeal and carry on with rigtheous indignation, but the citizens have to make it happen by keeping the local government's feet to the fire. The cycle of disinvestment has to be stopped.

    Demolition is a two-fold waste: a historic resource is irreversibly lost from the possibility of recycling and a vacant weed lot is created along with the cost of maintaining the lot and loss if tax income it once produced. Without any guidance, be prepared for bad design to replace the weed lot when or if ever it redevelops.

    There used to be a lot more incentives out there than there are now. Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds can be used to help low-income owners repair their homes, and can help first-time home-buyers with credit counseling, downpayment assistance and minor rehab. Certain tax incetives may also be available as direct assistance to urban homesteaders. Private not-for-profits, such as Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDO) and neighborhood development corproations can also play vital roles.

    Contact your local planning office or HUD for more information.

  3. #3
    Yes, I agree taking homes off the tax roll does nothing for the city. I think what I was wondering if other cities have some better way to keep property looking reasonably good. Or, does is the bottom line the "code enforcer?"

    We have many instances here where besides the absentee, or cheap landlord who doesn't want to reinvest in the rental property, we have people who may have inherited the home & can't or won't for some unknown reason what to sell the property so it sits empty. I don't have a problem with a empty house if the roof is kept in repair, it's painted, etc. Some people who have left homes sit empty for 20 years and, some people take care of the homes.... others. well, they slowly go down the slippery slope on their way to being flatten.

    I'm just wondering if there isn't some way to take the emphasis off flatten, maybe not.

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