• We're a fun, friendly, and diverse group of planners, placemakers, students, and other folks who found their people here. Create your FREE Cyburbia ID, and join us today! Use your email address, or register through your Reddit, Facebook, Google, Twitter, or Microsoft account.

RE: [IowaAPA] How to deal with problem properties * vacant, abandoned and blighted buildings

L

Laura Carstens

Guest
[IowaAPA] How to deal with problem properties * vacant, abandoned and blighted buildings

The City of Dubuque's Historic Preservation Commission is trying to
define / determine blight in connection with the Demolition by Neglect
section of the City's Historic Preservation Ordinance.

The Commission has noted the City's enforcement difficulties related to
poorly defined blight. The Commission feels that the Demolition by
Neglect section of the Historic Preservation Ordinance could more
effectively be enforced if blight was clearly defined.

We looked into current local, state and federal codes for developing a
definition for blight that can be used to augment the Demolition by
Neglect section of the Historic Preservation Ordinance. We have not
been able to find a definition for blight in the Iowa Code that can be
applied to a single property.

We are interested what other cities in Iowa are doing to deal with
problem properties * vacant, abandoned and blighted buildings *
whether they are in historic districts, residential neighborhoods, or
anywhere in a community.


Laura Carstens
Planning Services Manager
City of Dubuque
 
Last edited by a moderator:
T

Trnka, Joe

Guest
RE: [IowaAPA] How to deal with problem properties * vacant, abandoned and blighted buildings

Check with Randy McVey, the Long Range Planner for the City of Cedar
Rapids. Cedar Rapids has several historic districts that are listed at
either the local or national level (some are listed on both levels).
Cedar Rapids probably has a definition of blight that could be of use to
you.

Also, Cedar Rapids a survey of blighted neighborhoods about 2 years ago
that had originally been done in the 1980s with HUD money. That may also
be of use. I don't think Randy was involved in the blight survey but he
probably knows about it.

Randy's contact info:

Randall McVey
Long Range Planner
City of Cedar Rapids
Department of Development
50 Second Avenue Bridge - Sixth Floor
Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

(319) 286-5076
randymc (AT) cedar-rapids (DOT) org

Joe Trnka
Howard R. Green Company
St. Paul, MN
 
L

Laura Carstens

Guest
RE: [IowaAPA] How to deal with problem properties * vacant,abandoned and blighted buildings

Thanks, Joe.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
J

Jeff D Benson

Guest
Re: [IowaAPA] How to deal with problem properties * vacant, abandoned andblighted buildings

Ames has been discussing the definition of blight and slum in reference to
our Urban Revitalization Program. You are right, state law definition is
very broad. It is drawn from CDBG definitions that are also very broad.
Based on web site reviews, other States use the same definitions.

The options appear to be to
leave it broad and have the Council can make the judgment based on
community conditions and values at the time
try to narrow it down with detailed checklists based on your building
demolition (unsafe building) code, with or without a quantitative
measure, such as costs to fix problems
use the state definition as a filter to pick and choose elements from
your building demolition code to craft a definition for your town

We have not made decisions on this yet, but I suspect none of the answers
is perfect and perhaps they are all pretty much the same value.

I was hoping Dubuque had the answer!

Jeff

Jeffrey D. Benson, AICP, ASLA
Planner, Department of Planning and Housing

City of Ames, Iowa

515 Clark
P.O. Box 811
Ames, IA 50010

Ph: 515-239-5269
Fax: 515-239-5404

e-mail: jbenson (AT) city (DOT) ames.ia.us

"Caring People ~ Quality Programs ~ Exceptional Service"
 
Last edited by a moderator:
E

ERIK LUNDY

Guest
RE: [IowaAPA] How to deal with problem properties * vacant, abandoned andblighted buildings

City of Des Moines handles these problem properties under a public nuisance
process that does not rely on the traditional definitions of slum & blight
found in urban renewal statute or federal funding regulations. The
following link to Chapter 60 Article III of the Des Moines City Code should
help you get started:


http://library2.municode.com/mcc/home.htm?infobase=13242&doc_method=cleardoc

Specific questions should be directed to Ben Bishop Neighborhood Inspection
Administrator at bcbishop (AT) dmgov (DOT) org

Erik Lundy, AICP
tru2cy (AT) msn (DOT) com
 
H

Hughes, Gary

Guest
RE: [IowaAPA] How to deal with problem properties * vacant, abandoned and blighted buildings

In 2001 the City of Cedar Rapids reaffirmed the "slum / blight" qualification for previously established (neighborhood) urban renewal areas with an "inventory" of existing conditions. These (five) areas also have a predominance of low/moderate income persons, and Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) activities are usually satisfied on the basis of providing area benefit to low/moderate income persons. However, when it is necessary to qualify a CDBG activity on the basis of eliminating or reducing slum and blighting conditions on an area basis (such as within urban renewal area), certain criteria is required by HUD. For example: date when the area was qualified, conditions that contributed to its qualification as "slum/blight", and how a particular CDBG funded activity would address such condition(s). The reaffirmation re-established the qualifying date and conditions. Given the generality of Chapter 403, Code of Iowa, the site inventory (from field exterior inspection) divided property according to condition as: (1) sound; (2) needs maintenance; (3) deteriorated; and (4) dilapidated.

This effort only addressed "area" qualification, and not individual property qualification. In-fact, CDBG reg's will not allow "slum/blight" qualification on a "spot" basis if that property is located within an established urban renewal area.

To address "slum/blight" for individual properties, I would assume that there's some basis in local building / housing code . . . for criteria that would determine when a property is no longer suitable for human habitation.

Gary
 
Last edited by a moderator:
P

ppoorman@aol.com

Guest
Re: [IowaAPA] How to deal with problem properties *  vacant, abandoned and blighted buildings

Contact PHillip Delafield at 283-4200 the Building Official for the City of
Des Moines for specifics on how we do it in Des Moines.
 
Top