Bad owners deserve to be held accountable

Its a fixer-upper!
Its a fixer-upper!
Its a fixer-upper!

The city of Waco is pursuing legal action to force the improvement of three publicly unsafe buildings on 17th and 18th streets. The three buildings have been deemed unsafe for years, one dating back to 2007.

After years of threatening action against the property owners of the unsafe buildings, the city of Waco is putting its money where its mouth is by taking legal action to impose improvement to the three properties.

This is a wise and progressive move that will improve the community, beautify that area of the city and help promote new business in the area.
The three buildings have been deemed publicly unsafe for years. The problem is that the property owners have not lifted a hand to improve their own entities.

One building is a former nightclub site called La Movida that has withstood fire damage at 1728 Columbus Ave.

The second property is Reuter Cabinet Shop at 302 S. 17th Street. This property presents a precarious danger to the public because the building is unbalanced and leans toward the street. The stability of the building is aided by trees that support the frame.

The third property used to be Nicosia’s Shoe Repair shop at 322 N. 18th St. It now serves as a lumber warehouse. This property was marked unsafe back in 2007.

Neglected properties often belong to those who are physically or financially unable to maintain the property, or to owners who simply do not care about the property.

Cities are allowed to sue owners of publicly bothersome properties and seek financial reparations up to $1,000 a day per code violation according to Chapter 54 of the Texas Local Government Code.

These penalties have the potential to add up to an outstanding financial sum quickly. Just a single violation, if unaddressed for one business week, would cost the property owner $5,000.

If the city of Waco clears the hurdles of the legal process, then the three properties could go on to foreclosure. Although foreclosure is not a preferred alternative, it would finish the process and presumably give a new property owner the chance to start anew and refresh the building and the property as a whole.

When one property is an eyesore, it brings down the entire neighborhood and hurts the image of the surrounding community. It also produces a negative attitude toward surrounding businesses.

Eyesore buildings hurt curb appeal. In the eyes of a customer, the mere presentation of the building can have dire consequences on the surrounding area.

The National Association of Realtors states that an eyesore can drop the value of a nearby listing by about 10 percent.

Conversely, sound architecture and well-kept properties will positively increase the surrounding area.

If a property owner cannot rectify the violations that make their building unsafe, then the owner would be forced to sell the property to a buyer that is willing and able to improve the property.

Even though this will force the original owner to sell low, it will place the property into the hands of a party with the capability to improve it. This means new business in the city of Waco and that is a positive step.

Hopefully, the city of Waco will continue to seek legal action against other publicly unsafe buildings in the proximity to promote improvement of the community.

Waco’s eagerness to flush out publicly unsafe buildings from our community deserves commendation and it will further aid the beautification of the city.

The city of Waco’s legal actions will also help boost the growth of new business in the area.