Tear it down? Marietta eyes proposal allowing for abandoned property demolitions
by Nikki Wiley
May 04, 2014 04:00 AM | 3726 views | 3 3 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — The Marietta City Council is eying a code change that would allow the city to raze privately-owned, abandoned properties.

Demolition costs would be recouped through liens.

The City Council has expressed approval for a proposed ordinance prohibiting buildings from being boarded up for more than six months. After that time, if there is no activity on the property, an order would be issued by the city for the boarding to be removed, under the ordinance.

Property owners could appeal the order to the City Council. If it was upheld by city officials, the property owner would land in municipal court and the city may then opt to raze the building itself, placing a lien on the property to get its money back.

The ordinance has been sent to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for review and City Council must vote to approve it after the state’s review before it can be officially made part of the city code, said Brian Binzer, the city’s director of development services.

The City Council is considering including a line item in its fiscal year 2015 budget — which is being drafted now and is tentatively scheduled to be adopted in June — allocating $200,000 to take down abandoned buildings.

Councilman Stuart Fleming, who has pushed for the ordinance, said it makes the code an “ordinance with teeth.”

When the city razed single-family homes owned by its redevelopment agency, the Marietta Redevelopment Corp., it cost between $12,000 and $15,000 each to take them down, including costs associated with abatement of contaminants like asbestos, Binzer said.

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.

Fleming said he’s not targeting one area in particular and hopes the ordinance inspires property owners to maintain their buildings.

The cost to raze properties depends on its size and how much asbestos abatement is needed, Binzer said.

City Council will also vote at its meeting at 7 p.m. on May 14 at City Hall, 205 Lawrence St. on using federal money to knock down another MRC house at 52 West Dixie Ave. that has been vacant for more than a year and cannot be leased due to its poor condition.

The project is expected to cost between $10,000 and $15,000 and will be paid for with federal Community Development Block Grant funds, if approved.

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May 05, 2014
I am sorry, but placing liens on the owners of ABANDONED property is not going to generate any revenue. The reason is that if these owners had the money to pay the liens, they would not have abandoned the property to begin with. In most cases, people who abandon property are either in severe financial distress, or property is underwater: the value of the property is less than either/both the mortage/taxes owed, so they are better off walking away and taking a writeoff. So they are pretty much turnips that you aren't going to get any blood out of, as they would refuse to pay and write off the liens as well in most cases.

If you want to do this, fine, go ahead and dedicate the money. Abandoned buildings drive down property values and attract criminals, and prevents property from being repurposed for productive, revenue-generating aims. But do not try to fool the taxpayers into believing that they are going to get this money back. They won't, and this will simply be a necessary government expense.

Again, this is a great idea. Had Detroit started doing this decades ago, that city would be in much better shape right now. One of Detroit's biggest problems is entire areas of the city where all or nearly all of the buildings are abandoned. It would cost an obscene amount of money to clear them out that the government does not have and private investors do not want to spend, and no private investment is going to build anywhere near all those abandoned sites.
May 04, 2014
Councilman Fleming

Thank you for taking the initiative.

Blight feeds off off inactivity & laziness.

Ron Bucksot

Marietta, Ga

May 04, 2014
This Fleming guy is into the totalitarian, brute force of government to force private property owners into submission. We've seen guys like this before...a few very well known Europeans.

Fleming clearly is not so much into private property rights of individuals.

His is "condemn, demolish & charge back" idea is going to work out just great when the property owners can not pay for that demo job.

The City will then seize the property, sell it off (for the demo costs owed)...to one of Mr. Flemings crony comrades at the chamber of commerce-- at a great deal. No more "problematic" properties. Mark my word.

Oh, and this little seize and demo ploy that comrade Fleming is pushing, it WILL impact MINORITIES very hard. Again, mark my word.

I hope the city council does not follow comrade Flemings lead.

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