Ann Arbor City Council to consider $250,000 blight fund
Ann Arbor is seeking to start a fund to fight blight.
City Council will hear a resolution Tuesday night that asks officials to authorize a fund of up to $250,000 to secure and demolish dangerous buildings.
"Such buildings are deteriorating neighborhoods, affecting property values adversely, attracting unwanted activities and creating nuisances," according to the memo from Sumedh Balh, community services administrator.
"Owners of these properties are not taking any action to correct the situation. Community members and some of the Council members have expressed a desire for the City staff to aggressively abate dangerous buildings."
The resolution has been in the works for some time, Ralph Welton, the city's chief development official, told AnnArbor.com in December.
State law allows building officials to launch condemnation by using the city's building codes and appeals processes, instead of pursuing lengthy court battles over properties that are not maintained.
Welton made the statements in a story about a burned-out house on Pinecrest on the city's east side. That structure remained standing for about three years after the fire. Although the reason ended up being municipal red tape, it helped underscore for city officials how the process to address a dangerous structure needed streamlining.
With the measure facing council on Tuesday, officials are being asked to approve the $250,000 fund with the assurance that property owners of record will be invoiced for the actual costs incurred by the city.
"The City will use all options available to it to recover these costs," it said.
The resolution continues: "While highly unlikely, there may be a property for which the City is unable to recover its costs. This should not discourage the City to take necessary action to address dangerous buildings as abating dangerous buildings benefits the entire City."
Funding will come from the settlement of the Michigan Inn lawsuit, according to the resolution. That case involved a dilapidated hotel on the city's west side and a multi-year court battle to get it demolished.
The resolution says the city has identified properties that are designed as "dangerous" under city code. Those buildings are not identified in the resolution, but officials have said two properties on Platt and one on Nordman on the southeast side may be on the list.