The New Port Richey city council approved this week the first draft of an ordinance that paves the way for the city to raze blighted or slum properties.
Four council members were present to vote at a meeting Tuesday, and all four voted in favor of approving the ordinance. The ordinance is modeled after a Pasco County demolition ordinance, and it allows the city to access resources to help with demolition.
The city recently had to pass an emergency resolution so that it could raze trailers at the troubled Walden Pond Mobile Home Park. City taxpayers are on the hook for the demolition, which is now topping $62,000.
“Given the current situation... I think that this is a positive ordinance for the city, moving forward, to have in its set of tools,” said Jim Lang, one of the city attorneys.
Sherman Applegate, city public works director, said the ordinance opens the way for the city to seek Neighborhood Stabilization funds disbursed by Pasco County to assist with demolition.
On smaller projects, the city would front the money for demolition and then be reimbursed. For larger projects, like a hotel, the county could give the city money upfront.
There is currently housing stock in the city that meets the criteria needed for demolition, Applegate said.
The city would bill the property owners for the full demolition cost and be able to place a lien on the property if it wasn’t paid in 30 days.
The property owner could appeal a demolition for a $400 fee.
Under the ordinance, the city building official or an inspector would look at whether buildings meet one of the criteria for demolition.
The ordinance still needs a second public reading and vote to be added to the city code.
Want to know what types of properties could be razed under the ordinance?
The ordinance sets the following definitions for slum structures and conditions:
Buildings or improvements, whether residential or nonresidential, which by reason of dilapidation, deterioration, age, or obsolescence cause inadequate provision for ventilation, light, air, sanitation or open spaces; the existence of condition(s) which endanger life or property by fire or other causes; or any combination of factors which contribute to ill health, transmission of disease, juvenile delinquency or crime, or are detrimental to the public health, safety, morals or welfare.
The ordinance defines a blighted structure and conditions as follows:
A deteriorated or deteriorating structure which endangers life or property by fire or other causes, unsanitary or unsafe condition(s) or deterioration of th site and its improvements, which condition(s) impair or arrest the sound growth of the City of New Port Richey or are a menace to the public health, safety, morals or welfare of the City of New Port Richey.
A property has to meet at least one of he following criteria as worded in the ordinance to be eligible for demolition.
1. The structure, or a portion thereof has been extensively damaged by fire, flood, wind, or other natural phenomena such that the building or structure is substantially destroyed or poses an immediate and manifest danger to the life, health, or safety of the general public or occupant.
2. The structure is so unsanitary or so utterly fails to provide the amenities essential to decent living that it is manifestly unfit for human habitation, or is likely to cause sickness or disease, so as to work injury to the life, health or safety of the general public or occupant. "Amenities essential to decent living" include, but are not limited to, the availability of potable water, at least one working toilet, and protection from exposure to the elements.
3. The structure, or a portion thereof, as a result of decay, deterioration, or dilapidation is likely to fully or partially collapse.
4. The condition of the structure, or a portion thereof, poses an immediate threat to life or property by fire or other causes.
5. The site to be cleared by demolition consists of the remains, debris, wall, chimney, or floors of or left from a building or structure that has partially or completely collapsed, fallen, or been torn
6. There is a serious and substantial falling away, hanging loose, or loosening of the siding, block, brick or other building material creating a hazard for occupants or the public.
7. The structural parts have become so dilapidated, decayed, or deteriorated, or there is an unusual sagging or leaning out of plumb of the building or any part thereof caused by deterioration or over-stressing of the structure or structural parts, that the structure is manifestly unsafe.