Just before Christmas, the City of Thomas crossed another BAD Building off of their inventory. The “Eagle’s Nest” building on Spruce Street was demolished thanks to the collaboration of the private property owner, Woodlands Development Group, and the WVDEP.
The West Virginia Housing Development Fund has begun accepting Request for Proposals for the new Code Enforcement Technical Assistance Support as part of the Property Rescue Initiative program. The Code Enforcement Technical Assistance program offers up to $10,000 in financial assistance to enhance existing or to create effective code enforcement for communities. The financing can be used for adopting and updating ordinances, procuring a certified code enforcement official, training in code enforcement procedures and practices, and personal certifications or department accreditation relevant to code enforcement.
On November 14th, the Northern Brownfields Assistance Center will be hosting the 2017 BAD Buildings Summit at the Erickson Alumni Center in Morgantown, WV. At the BAD Buildings Summit, you can learn how to rehabilitate Brownfields, Abandoned, and Dilapidated (BAD) Buildings in your community by networking with other leaders across the state dealing with the same challenges. Participants will see presentations by resource providers, practitioners, and technical experts on topics including demolition, codes & ordinances, funding, resources, engaging stakeholders, and sustainable reuse options for vacant properties.
Only a few spots remain before registration closes. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to learn more about making an impact in your community and state. You can register here before the last few tickets are gone.
To learn more, please visit the 2017 BAD Buildings Summit page.
PHOTO – A dilapidated home in Huntington
The Huntington City Council has approved changes to the unsafe building ordinance to help the city address vacant and dilapidated structures.
The changes reflect recent updates to the state code made in the 2017 legislative session that created additional tools for code enforcement officials such as being able to a search warrant to inspect a vacant or dilapidated structure in response to an absent property owner.
These changes will help the city to address blight more effectively and efficiently.
PHOTO – A dilapidated home within the city of Fairmont
In Fairmont, over 300 buildings sit vacant, abandoned or dilapidated.
Some have sat for years in disrepair after their owners died or moved away. Others are owned by heirs who live out of state, and simply forgot about them.
But the residents who live next to them and the city government which has authority over them haven’t forgot.
“As people moved out, who was there to maintain their properties?” City Manager Robin Gomez said. “For many of them, nobody did.”
In the five-and-a-half decades since Jane Jacobs published “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” her core contention — that urban vitality and safety are a function of small-scale density, a mixture of uses and “eyes on the street” — has become conventional wisdom in urban theory. But the impact that that notion has enjoyed can be attributed, in large part, to the poetic force of Jacobs’ delivery: The idea that an active “sidewalk ballet” makes neighborhoods safe as well as vibrant seems to jibe with daily experience. Can data bear it out?
According to a new study, maybe.
A law allowing municipalities to take new measures against owners of dilapidated, abandoned properties has gone into effect.
The law allows code enforcement agencies to obtain search warrants from a municipal judge to determine the status of a structure. If granted, the agency can inspect the property to see if it is truly dilapidated, Charleston City Attorney Paul Ellis said.
If there are significant issues with the structure, municipalities can then demolish those that are serious public safety hazards. Previously, municipalities had to get either written consent from the building’s owner, or the municipality could get an order in circuit court.
During an economic downturn, the first casualty are small, locally owned businesses. Not only does it hurt the local economy, but often leaves the city’s landscape just as scarred. However, Bluefield, West Virginia, is now doing something about it.
Jim Spencer, Bluefield’s Director of Economic Development, has begun an initiative to spruce up the storefronts along Bland and Federal streets. He says the reasons for the project are threefold. “We started using the windows to market Bluefield, tell the history of Bluefield, and actually do some cleanup. We’re starting with our own properties. This is an initiative that came from our Cool and Connected grant program we were working on, which is focusing on downtown development.”
Stay up to date on the WV Legislature’s work to help communities revitalize downtown historic properties.
This spring and summer, Kanawha County officials hope to demolish dozens of dilapidated houses throughout the county. At its regular meeting Thursday, the Kanawha County Commission approved using $1 million on a demolition program to raze up to 114 houses.
The county uses 100 percent of its building permit fees for the demolition of dilapidated structures, county Planning Director Steve Neddo said. The county currently has more than $375,000 in building fees on hand, which it will leverage with an interest-free loan from the West Virginia Housing Development Fund. Altogether, the county plans to spend around $1 million to demolish the structures.