Tuesday, November 07, 2006

WCO Meeting Adresses Abandoned Buildings in Warrendale

Thirty-four individuals came out for the November 2006 membership meeting of the Warrendale Community Organization in the Activities Building of Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church. The main focus for the evening was our guest speaker Steven Leggat, assistant chief of Detroit's Buildings & Safety Engineering Department, who spoke about abandoned buildings as well as those that cause blight by the owners not maintaining them.

According to a survey by the WCO's Environ- mental Taskforce, there are 83 homes in Warrendale west of the Southfield Freeeway that have a significant issue with them. These include homes were a fire had previously occurred by the damage hasn't been fixed as well as other properties that simply are not being maintained. While 83 problem properties might not seem like a lot in a community with 9,036 homes, WCO's membership chair Carrie Engle was quick to point out that the number of problem properties has been increasing since the issues in question haven't been addressed by anyone with the City.

Mr. Leggat explained the various divisions within his department and who was responsible for what. He also pointed out that his department does not receive any funding from our tax dollars beyond what is used to demolish dangerous buildings. The rest of their budget comes from permit and inspection fees that are assessed against those who build in Detroit.

As a result, the City's Department of Buildings & Safety Engineering only has 1 inspector for every 11,000 commericial or rental properties in the city. This, in turn, does cause a certain amount of delay in responding to citizen complaints. Regardless, he pointed out that his department does respond to every complaint that is made.

Mr. Leggat provided the WCO with a list each of the inspectors within the department and their telephone numbers. He also provided us with the names and telephone numbers of each of their respective supervisors.

Ella Norman, president of the WCO, presented Mr. Leggat with a list of the problem properties. He promised to share it with the inspectors for our area. More importantly, he also promised to follow-up with the WCO's Environmental Taskforce later this month.

There will undoubtedly be more news to report as this situation progresses. When that happens, you can read about it all in the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog.

Additional photos from this month's WCO meeting can be found on my Flickr page.

No comments: