City proposal targets vacant buildings, related blight - Albuquerque Journal

City proposal targets vacant buildings, related blight

A bipartisan pair of city councilors is taking aim at the blighted, vacant buildings that dot much of the old Route 66 and other parts of Albuquerque.

The Parkland Hills shopping center near San Mateo and Katherine SE remains boarded up. A proposed city ordinance would allow property owners to use boards to cover doors and windows only for 180 days. The owner would have to find a better way to secure the property after that. (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)
The Parkland Hills shopping center near San Mateo and Katherine SE remains boarded up. A proposed city ordinance would allow property owners to use boards to cover doors and windows only for 180 days. The owner would have to find a better way to secure the property after that. (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)

Republican Don Harris and Democrat Pat Davis want to require property owners to remove weeds, fix exterior walls and meet other standards if they leave a building boarded-up and unoccupied for three months.

The proposal already has drawn criticism from NAIOP, the commercial real estate development association, which says the bill is too broad and goes too far.

Harris and Davis – whose districts cover the neighborhoods along East Central Avenue, the old Route 66 – say they’re trying to strike the right balance, not impose unnecessary requirements.

Vacant buildings and shopping centers, they say, are a source of neighborhood complaints and calls to police.

“It drags down our quality of life,” Harris said Wednesday in an interview.

Davis said one vacant shopping center in his district generated more than 50 calls to the city over a two-year period. People complain about dead animals, homeless encampments, deteriorating walls and other problems – a drain on city resources, he said.

“What could we have done with all that police time?” Davis asked.

Lynne Andersen, president of the state chapter of NAIOP, said the bill should focus more clearly on property owners who cause problems, not the vast majority who maintain their buildings.

“The bill is not narrowly focused enough to handle the bad actors,” Andersen said. “Its net pulls in just about everybody that owns a building.”

The proposal, for example, calls for owners to register their vacant buildings with the city and designate a local person to handle complaints.

“Just because a building is vacant doesn’t mean it’s an eyesore or causing criminal problems,” she said.

The rules in place now generally just focus on securing vacant structures, not necessarily keeping them in a presentable state, supporters of the bill say.

The proposed ordinance generally defines a vacant building as a commercial structure that’s been unoccupied for three months without signs of construction.

Property owners who violate the law would be subject to daily $500 fines and other penalties – even demolition by city crews if the problem persists for a year. City Council and district court approval would be required before demolition.

The bill would require property owners to register vacant buildings with the city for $100 every six months and obtain liability insurance of at least $1 million. Owners would need to register a building within 30 days of it becoming vacant.

The proposal would require owners of vacant buildings to:

• Remove weeds and trash.

• Post “no trespassing” signs.

• Fix holes in exterior walls. Boarded-up windows and doors would be allowed only for up to 180 days.

• Clean up graffiti within 48 hours.

The bill is months away from final consideration. Harris and Davis said they are open to making changes.

The proposal has been referred to the city’s Environmental Planning Commission for a recommendation before it comes back to the City Council.

Home » News » Albuquerque News » City proposal targets vacant buildings, related blight

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories




Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages

 

Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
1
Ready for Rihanna? A look at five songs that ...
ABQnews Seeker
Journal Staff WriterI am not sure ... Journal Staff WriterI am not sure if you have heard, but there is a football game this ...
2
Walmart near Highland High School to close next month
ABQnews Seeker
The roughly 287 employees who work ... The roughly 287 employees who work at the store are eligible for transfers to nearby Walmart locations, the company said.
3
House committee endorses automatic voter registration in New Mexico
ABQnews Seeker
In-person transactions at MVD offices would ... In-person transactions at MVD offices would register new voters, and Election Day would be a school holiday
4
Alford, Nevada break Lobo hearts yet again
ABQnews Seeker
Kenan Blackshear's final-second shot pushed Nevada ... Kenan Blackshear's final-second shot pushed Nevada past the UNM Lobos and continued Steve Alford's dominance over his former team.
5
Police investigating death in International District apartment complex
ABQnews Seeker
Homicide detectives have been called out ... Homicide detectives have been called out to the scene.
6
Not a winter wonderland, but it’s something: ABQ to ...
ABQnews Seeker
The snow accumulations weren’t above an ... The snow accumulations weren’t above an inch at the Albuquerque International Sunport.
7
From piñon to petrichor: 4 aromas that define Albuquerque ...
ABQnews Seeker
A group of Las Cruces fifth ... A group of Las Cruces fifth graders recently pitched a bill that would name the scent of roasting green chile the official state smell. ...
8
Scoring King: James passes Abdul-Jabbar for NBA points mark
ABQnews Seeker
LeBron James got the first official ... LeBron James got the first official statistic of his NBA career on a rebound. His next entry on the stat sheet was an assist. ...
9
Emptying the Notebook: Lobos losing 3-point battle every night ...
ABQnews Seeker
Some extra notes, quotes and analysis ... Some extra notes, quotes and analysis from Tuesday night's UNM Lobos loss to the Nevada Wolf Pack in the Pit.