Scott City revises definition of dangerous buildings

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Scott City Council has changed its definition of substandard buildings and the process by which the city goes about recovering money from the demolition or renovation of those buildings.

In its regular meeting Monday night, the city council passed a new ordinance making changes to the city code dealing with those structures.

One of the key changes to the ordinance is that it gives the city the power to define buildings of incomplete construction as dangerous buildings. The new measure would allow the city to force owners to bring those buildings up to defined standards -- a power the city didn't have previously.

"This will make the eye appeal a little better if nothing else," said Mayor Tim Porch of the ordinance. "I think this will be a lot better ordinance than what we had."

The measure passed without opposition.

Under the new provisions, uninhabited buildings that are open at the door, window, wall or roof and those on which no substantial construction has been performed for 90 days, following the city giving notice to do so, can be deemed dangerous. In addition, those under demolition that haven't received any substantial work for a 14-day period, following a notice, can be deemed dangerous.

If a building is deemed dangerous, the city then has the power to bring the building up to standards and recover the money used to do so.

Insurance claims

Previously that was done through tax liens, but the new ordinance gives the city a new way to fund such projects by diverting 10 percent of insurance claim money for properties where it applies (fire, explosion or other casualty loss) to the city to pay for demolition or repair of the structures.

Those for which insurance claims are not applicable will still be handled through tax liens.

Under the new ordinance the city also has the power to deem dangerous any buildings which contain substantial accumulations of trash, garbage or materials that create a fire or health hazard for neighbors.

msanders@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 182

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