Friday, October 22, 2010

DCRA and Vacant Properties

HT to the CCCA blog and it's 10/22 post about a pilot project to work with residents in the Convention Center Civic and Mount Vernon Square Civic Assocations' areas.
DCRA has a page for owners and residents to register or report vacant properties should the map that CCCA and the MVSA people have doesn't jive with what one sees walking, biking or just living in the neighborhood.
A property can be considered 'vacant' if it has:

  • low or no utilities usage;

  • an accumulation of mail;

  • a lack of furniture or window coverings;

  • open accessibility;

  • deferred maintenance, including loose or falling gutters, severe paint chipping, or overgrown grass;

  • been the subject of neighbor complaints about the property; and

  • been boarded up.

  • My only concern, as one who likes private property rights, is for vacation or low use property that is not a nuiance and is off-grid. But regardless in an urban setting rotting mail, boards on windows and doors, bad maintenance and drawing complaints should make a property listed as vacant.

    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    509 O Street NW

    Credit D. Smith
     This is from the Shaw neighborhood listserv. From the email sent the poster had brought this property to the attention to Mr. Majett at DCRA and has found the response from the city unsatisfying.
    From my own walk bys of the property it has been an abandoned shell for a good long while. It has much possiblity but currently it is an eyesore and from the evidence a possible hangout for vagrants.
    Also according to the email sent to the listserv:
    Credit D. Smith
    The on-line OTR property tax data base (difficult to find in the new DC government website design) continues to show both "units" as Class 1 Residential with no exemptions, rather than Class 3 Blighted. I am wondering if their status has actually been changed or not. And if not, why not. The most current list of blighted properties posted on-line (also difficult to find) is for the first half of 2010 and this property does not appear on it.

    Wednesday, July 28, 2010

    Looking to form a Vacant Prop Team

    Vacant prop
    Originally uploaded by In Shaw
    I want to thank Ed for passing this blog on to me. I have no great plans for it but to make it a resource several people will need to make use of this blog as a place to post and bring attention to vacant properties in DC. Not just Shaw, though that's my area, but the rest of the city from Columbia Heights to Deanwood and other neighborhoods where the city and property owners have failed and left eyesores and danger pits.
    Now I am not going to scour the city looking for vacant properties. No. I'm too lazy for that. So I invite other bloggers to join and use this site to be a record to be pointed to in regards to this one subject. This would be particularly useful if you're like me and you blog about a lot of other stuff that aren't vacant buildings.

    Thursday, July 22, 2010

    Help Wanted

    This space has been quiet for some time.  Two years ago we moved to Alexandria to raise our family.   We needed a bigger house, better schools, less crime, easier parking, etc.  We miss our neighbors and the neighborhood.  We miss the vibrancy of city life:  the restaurants, the galleries, the shops.  An ideal place to live would combine the best of both worlds.  For now, we'll try to bring a little bit of the best of city to the suburbs.

    Also in the past two years, the city council in their infinite wisdom repealed the vacant property tax.  "Unintended consequences" was the supposed reason.  Allegedly, some occupied residences were mistakenly classified as vacant.  People have written to this blog claiming as such but refuse to give their addresses even though real estate tax records are open to the public.  Repealing the tax is throwing the baby out with the bath water.  I suspect developers, like felon Douglas Jemal, objected to the recent uptick in enforcement and applied pressure on their favorite city councilmen (Jack, Mike).  The tax could have brought in $150 million a year.
    This in probably my last post.  If anyone would like to continue this blog please add a comment including your email address.  The comments are reviewed before posting so your email address will not be published.

    Latest Potential Maybe Sometime Use For Wonder Bread Factory - Housing Complex - Washington City Paper

    Latest Potential Maybe Sometime Use For Wonder Bread Factory - Housing Complex - Washington City Paper: "As far as actual effort, though, it’s unclear how much the company is putting in. Doug Jemal bought the building back in 1997–the deed shows a purchase price of $10–and Chip Ellis wanted to buy it in 2006 as part of his burgeoning Shaw entertainment hub. Now, the factory isn’t listed on the company’s website (though it features many other vacant retail spaces downtown). They might want to do something with it soon, because tax records show that Douglas is in arrears by $113,916.86 for 2009 and the first half of 2010."

    Fun With Pie Charts: Vacant Property Edition - Housing Complex - Washington City Paper

    Fun With Pie Charts: Vacant Property Edition - Housing Complex - Washington City Paper: "Under the vacant property taxation changes made for the 2011 budget cycle, owners of unused properties will have to pay $250 to register them, and then pay $5 per $100 of assessed value in yearly property taxes, unless they qualify for one of a host of exemptions. The intention is to make it more expensive for delinquent landowners to keep their properties empty. That could mean that the lowest-income wards with the most vacant properties could benefit most from the legislation–even if organizations and individuals without the money to develop their properties wind up having to sell to avoid the tax."

    Vincent Abell Wants to Buy City-Owned Vacant Property - Housing Complex - Washington City Paper

    "Last April, Attorney General Peter Nickles filed the suit against “23 of the very worst ’slumlords,’ asking the court to put many of their properties into receivership so the city could make sure rents got spent on making repairs. A few weeks later, Nickles released a revised list, touting the addition of several more landlords.”

    Now, Abell wants to buy one of the vacant properties auctioned off on January 30 by the city. Abell had the top bid on 3022 Channing Street N.E."