Seligman addressing dilapidated buildings

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

More than 30 properties labeled as dangerous

The city of Seligman has decided to take steps toward a cleaner town, and it has sent out a number of notices to residents about dangerous buildings.

Brian Nichols, Seligman city clerk, said there is a need to work on properties in town.

“There is a definite need to address the buildings, and we are trying to do that,” he said. “At the time of September’s City Council meeting, there were seven notifications sent out for properties, two of which we had not, at that point, heard from the owners.”

Another 10 letters went out the week following the meeting.

“There are two notices that we sent to be published in the paper because two properties did not receive their certified notice letters and were returned to me,” he said. “My options are to send out notices by certified mail and if they are not received, I have to publish it in the paper for two weeks.”

Nichols said the dangerous building notices are for both residential and commercial buildings.

“Any properties in the city limits that constitutes a nuisance or a safety concern to the public is considered a dangerous building,” he said. “We are seeing examples of this in older homes that are falling down or have walls or roofs falling in.”

Nichols said sending out the notification is the first step, then, the property owners are given a grace period to take care of the issue.

“If they haven’t taken care of it by the grace period, then the board gets request letters to submit to our attorney,” he said. “It is kind of hard to say how this will play out. It is new territory, at least for me.”

Nichols said there is a learning curve to this process.

“The grace period after is 30 days from the date of the notice,” he said. “They need to, by then, commence either repair or demolition of the property.”

Nichols said at this point, he is working on sending notifications to more than 30 properties total.

“That list is still growing, and includes any building inside the city,” he said. “This is really all a new plan of attack toward this issue. All in all, we don’t want to get stuck with the city footing the bill on taking care of these properties. We are not trying to be harsh about it, but the owners of the properties own it and pay taxes on it, they should take care of its needs.”

Nichols said the city has taken more subtle approaches to the issue in years past, but that approach has not worked.

“We are trying to escalate it to the next [step],” he said.

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