Editorial: Abandoned properties

Editorial: Abandoned properties

Code enforcers have demolished more than 500 overgrown and abandoned homes in Albany over the last 8 years, but many residents and even city leaders say the problem still exists.

The city has spent over $1 million in that time period cleaning up blighted properties, but code enforcers still have a long way to go in fighting the blight.
Doris Carr has lived at her home on East Residence 50 years.

"I don't like the neighborhood no more and if I was able I would move out. I can't afford to move because I'm too old." The once thriving East Albany neighborhood is not the same. Dilapidated and overgrown homes surround Ms. Carr.

Right next door sits a perfect example. As she says, it reduces her property value. Drugs and other illegal activity run rampant in the home commonly occupied by vagrants. It's one of many blighted properties in Albany. We are now happy to say that these homes will soon be taken down.

"There's definitely a problem with that in Albany," said Robert Carter Chief Code Enforcement Officer. "The neighborhood safety, the neighborhood's property value, the neighborhood's comfort, being able to enjoy their property, as well as the investment in our city."

But it's a problem city leaders are determined to fix. With blighted properties scattered around Albany, it can be difficult to know where to start.
A large percentage of them come from complaints from the neighbors. After that complaint comes, inspectors go out to the home and give the homeowner an opportunity to address the issues.

Unfortunately a lot of people don't respond and may be absentee property owners. They may be people who just don't have the resources to reinvest in the property.

A long process can sometimes result in court battles and legal hurdles that can prevent demolition from happening for years. It's what allowed the backlog of properties to grow to at least 176.

Officials say 12 are in the process of being demolished. Eleven more are waiting for bids to come back.  If you have dilapidated properties, call 311 and begin the process help clean up our city.

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