City makes progress on building code enforcement

By Stefanie Donahue

A city campaign to eliminate derelict buildings and yard waste has led to an uptick in notices and fines from the city in an effort to hamper violations.

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The former Exxon station on D Street, long-closed, was recently torn down and the site leveled as a result of the city campaign. According to community planner Maddie Ottley, the building that once stood had been boarded up for a long period of time. Photo by Pat Grubb.

Community planner Maddie Ottley was hired by the city in February following the approval of an ordinance to increase code enforcement for owners of derelict properties in the area. At a November 14 regular city council meeting, Ottley detailed her progress to city staff.

Already, 91 cases have been resolved since she started.

Since February, city staff have identified 24 potentially dangerous properties throughout Blaine. Eight of the structures have been demolished, including a gas station on D Street, which Ottley said was boarded and abandoned for a long period of time.

Out of the 24 properties identified since February, six have been cleaned and secured and two have been repaired and are no longer considered derelict. Two others have active demolition permits expected to be complete before December.

A company called Country Enterprises has formally been working with city staff to address active code violations on three properties, Ottley reported. One is located on C Street, another on Bell Road and a final property on Peace Portal Drive near exit 274.

When the initiative began, property owners were notified of violations in the form of a letter, which encouraged compliance with the law.

From there, the city issued  civil violations, which required a response within 15 days. Property owners could respond, refute or resolve the issue with the hearing examiner.

The city has also issued fines as a result of recently identified violations. According to Ottley, $6,250 has already been collected out of civil violations and by the hearing examiner.

Ottley also reported on six other properties with confirmed violations that were not considered dangerous. Issues related to debris and trash, vegetation and permitting are also grounds for the city to step in.

“We’re really proud of the work we’ve done,” she said.

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