Marietta considers demolishing blighted property, slapping lien on it to recoup cost
by Nikki Wiley
February 28, 2014 04:00 AM | 3953 views | 3 3 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A corner food mart remains boarded up at 373 Allgood Road in Marietta, presenting quite an eyesore for the surrounding neighborhood.<br>Special to the MDJ
A corner food mart remains boarded up at 373 Allgood Road in Marietta, presenting quite an eyesore for the surrounding neighborhood.
Special to the MDJ
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MARIETTA — City officials, in an effort to crack down on blight, may consider demolishing boarded-up homes and recouping costs by slapping liens on targeted properties.

Two of the 20 buildings identified as eyesores possibly worthy of being torn down are owned by the city’s own redevelopment agency.

No decisions have been made on whether a new ordinance will be pursued, but council members discussed at a meeting on Wednesday the possibility of creating a code that would limit the amount of time property owners could have a building boarded up to no longer than six months. If no repairs had been made after six months, the city would be able to raze the property and put a lien on it to recover expenses.

Of the 20 properties boarded up in Marietta, two are buildings at the Wynhaven and Marquis Place apartment complexes, one is a former neighborhood convenience store and two are residences owned by the Marietta Redevelopment Corp., the city’s redevelopment agency.

Council members asked the city attorney to research the ordinance and report back to the council next month for more consideration.

But the first step in addressing abandoned properties will be to look at amending the city’s building code, which as of now allows homes to be boarded up indefinitely.

Councilman Stuart Fleming is leading the charge to strengthen the city’s blight ordinance and said he has received more than 20 phone calls from residents who support his efforts.

He urged council to implement a six-month grace period that homes could be boarded up and said he doesn’t think there’s a better use of tax dollars than tearing down homes that reflect poorly on the entire city.

Mayor Steve Tumlin expressed support to tighten the city’s code but said he is hesitant to “tax somebody just because they can’t afford to fix their property.”

Councilman Philip Goldstein agreed with Tumlin and said he has concerns about tearing down property only because it’s boarded up.

Before the city could demolish property, a public hearing may be needed to give property owners a chance to explain their situation, said City Attorney Doug Haynie.

But Fleming said he “doesn’t really care” why a property has been boarded up.

“My suspicion is none of these people have just fallen on hard times and decided to put up plywood,” Fleming said.

Councilman Grif Chalfant said putting a lien on property would “teach a lesson.”

“They may not fix it up a whole lot, but they’ll fix it up enough not to get into this situation,” Chalfant said.

While the city has identified only 20 boarded-up buildings in Marietta, Fleming said that number is too high.

“One is too many in my judgment because it impacts all of our properties and it reflects poorly upon the city,” Fleming said.

Comments
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Concerned citizen
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April 18, 2014
Fleming said, “My suspicion is none of these people have just fallen on hard times and decided to put up plywood.”

Oh really??? Is he clairvoyant? Maybe he should actually be a valid representative and have a discussion with the owners to assess the situation before voting to demolish someone's private property. I agree there needs to be standards and ways to remedy these types of situations. But the cavalier attitude that comes across in the article is off-putting!

anonymous
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February 28, 2014
If councilman Fleming does not like this piece of private property the way it is, he can reach in his own dang pockets and pull out enough money to BUY the property himself and put it into the condition that his busy-body self believes it should be in.

OR, he could move is self-important boo-hinny to another locale where he has enough of his own personal property to allow his eyes to be shielded from the view of "objectionable" properties...plain and simple. He has a choice, as do his busy body constituents.

Using the force of government to make others do with their private property what a busy-body politician/constituency believes is how they do it in Cuba, Shanghai, Russia (and other places that I am not interested in living).

I wish upon Mr. Fleming COMPLETE FAILURE in his efforts in "Oppressive Government" (for the benefit of the busybody class who are unwilling to put their own money where their mouth is to eliminate those dreg properties thru private purchase thereof).

Dresser
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February 28, 2014
Philip's definition of boarded windows is "window treatments"
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