Montgomery seeks blight ordinance for dilapidated buildings

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – The City of Montgomery is taking more action to combat the scourge of the neighborhood.

On Wednesday evening, an ad hoc committee of the Montgomery City Council met to discuss implementing an ordinance that would give the city more flexibility to deal with the dozens of vacant and dilapidated homes and commercial buildings across the city.

Abandoned and condemned homes have been an eyesore to the community for years. Neighbors say these horrors lower property values ​​and welcome criminal activity.

“These types of structures invite criminal activity, criminal activity that we don’t need,” said Marion Ackley, president of the Highland Park Home Owners Association. “Something must be done.”

Ackley stood on Longview Street in his neighborhood, pointing to the number of vacant and shuttered homes in the block. All a few meters from a daycare.

“We have children who may have to walk up and down this street to go to school. Do you know how dangerous it is? said Ackley.

The city has demolished 180 dilapidated homes over the years, but dozens remain.

Many of these buildings are inherited properties, under state control, or are homes whose owners have not paid property taxes. This legally gives the city little leeway to come up with solutions, but a new ordinance could help.

“It would allow us to bring those landlords to the table, give us an opportunity to ask what the plan of action is and follow through with what they said they were going to do with those properties,” said District 6 City. Advisors Oronde Mitchell.

Mitchell also says a bill is making its way through the Statehouse — SB 335 — that would create a burns review board to hold homeowners accountable.

“He’ll actually send these letters to the review board, the review board will hear what they’re doing with their property, and then they’ll give them a deadline to make sure they’re actually doing something with those properties” , Mitchell said.

The city is also discussing the establishment of a land reserve.

“The land banks are just giving the city the ability to buy some of these properties,” Mitchell said.

The city says it won’t be a quick fix, but Mitchell assures the city that improvements are on the way.

“You’ll start to see fewer condemned buildings,” Mitchell said. “Montgomery is a booming town and we want to make sure that when you’re driving through your neighborhood, when you’re shopping, you don’t see these condemned or derelict buildings.”

The ordinance is in the final phase of development. The city’s legal department must review it before it can be presented to council in May.

Copyright 2022 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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