Posted: Nov 20, 2012 8:46 PM by Mike Manzoni -- email@example.com
Updated: Nov 20, 2012 11:30 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI -- The city is blanketed with more than 1,000 abandoned and dilapidated buildings and houses, and year after year city leaders have done virtually nothing to get rid of them.
The problem, city leaders said, has a lot to do with an ordinance that works against the city. "In order to get the right to enter, they have to have two ordinance violations on the outside," said At-Large City Councilman David Loeb. But many of the problems are on the inside which renders the ordinance ineffective. "There is a little bit of red tape."
The ordinance, which was last revised in 2004, requires property owners to "...promptly remove or repair any element of the building...that is in a condition of decay or partial ruin...." That description would appear to fit most of the dilapidated buildings across the city, but getting property owners to comply with the rules has proven difficult.
City Councilman John Marez, who represents District 2 where several of the dilapidated buildings are located, said the property owners are indifferent about the problem. "It's ownership that doesn't live here -- that doesn't necessarily care what we're doing here in Corpus Christi."
Marez said many of the owners have inherited the dilapidated properties and in most cases do not live in the city, or, in some cases, live in the state. But he said another problem is the number of years the buildings have been standing abandoned, especially downtown on Chapparal Street where rows of dilapidated buildings are adjacent to one another. "If it's [the buildings] not out there in our face all the time we tend to forget about it and we kind of -- it does become part of the scenery, unfortunately."
Although the City Council is allowed to strengthen the ordinance or change it all together, they have not done so in nearly a decade. When asked why the Council has not acted, neither Loeb nor Marez answered the question, at least directly.
"I think, you know, going back, it's going to tie in specifically with the courts," said Marez.
"The Downtown Management District actually has a committee that's looking at our ordinances and how to tighten them up and make them a little bit more specific."
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