Albany's code enforcement cracks down - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany's code enforcement cracks down

May 19, 2006

Albany -- There's probably one not far from your home, a dilapidated and dangerous building. The city of Albany spends a lot of your tax money cleaning them up. There's a new plan to speed up that process and save you some money.

Eyesores around town are all too common.

"The broken windows the accumulation of debris if you see inside a lot of times the substandard leaking roof, not proper facilities," said code enforcement officer Robert Carter.

That's when a code inspector may slap a warning notice on your front door. Inspectors say many property owners don't respond to letters from code enforcement because sometimes they'll owe the city money.

"That's where the new ordinance comes into place, which allows the city to collect funds that they spent cleaning property demolishing property so forth, through the same process collecting property taxes," said Carter.

Once code enforcement has tagged a house the property owner is given a certain amount of time to correct any problems. If the problems aren't fixed a small structure could cost the city anywhere from 3 to 5 thousand dollars to demolish.

That is if the city attorney's office says it needs to go. The property owners will only have one time in court and be given an allotted time to comply with the law.

"If the property owner does not comply then the city can move forward after that time has expired to go ahead and bring the property into compliance, demolish the property, whatever's required," said city attorney Nathan Davis.

Code enforcers are also looking for junk vehicles. With a court order, the city now has the right to take these cars off your property and out of sight.

"We will eliminate that and hopefully bring some pride back into the neighborhood, and make everyone more comfortable," said Robert Carter.

If everyone follows city codes and ordinances it can make Albany a nicer and safer place to live.

Code enforcement inspectors are looking for things like yards that are not maintained, that means vegetation taller than one foot, paint chipping off wood, and piles of debris.With the new ordinance the code enforcement office and city attorney can work together to get rid of all any problems.

Under the new ordinances and with the help of a new assistant city attorney, code enforcement cases will come to a conclusion faster. That will save the city money. Right now inspectors are waiting on court orders for 32 dilapidated structures.

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