Whither Vacant Buildings?

Officials in Fort Worth, Texas, are searching for ways to deal with buildings left vacant by businesses struggling during the recession. Other cities and the state of Texas are also addressing the issue.

"'One of the worst things you can have in your neighborhood is a boarded-up building,'" said Brandon Bennett, director of Fort Worth's code enforcement department. "'It attracts crime.'"

Recognizing that vacant buildings pose a long-term problem, Fort Worth code compliance workers a year ago started a public review to consider an ordinance to better control vacant buildings, but the work was tabled. The issue has since resurfaced and city employees are wanting to talk with real estate agents, mortgage companies and lenders about the best way to address the problem, Bennett said.

Last summer, when the review began, city workers noticed that vacant houses were generally boarded up for 1? 1/2 to two months, he said. Now more lenders and banks are boarding up structures to deter thieves, Bennett said.

In Arlington, the city launched a program to bill owners of vacant properties for inspections but recently put the plan on hold after numerous complaints.

In Austin, legislation has been filed to fine property owners who don't register vacant buildings with their city annually and show proof of insurance."

Full Story: Cities struggle with vacant buildings

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
DVD Cover of The Story of Sprawl

The Story of Sprawl

See how America changed shape in this collection of historic films that visually document how sprawl evolved.
$29.99 for 2-DVD SET
Wood necklace with city map

City Necklaces

These sweet pendants are engraved on a cedar charm with a mini map of selected cities. The perfect gift for friends and family or yourself!
$28.00