I too hope that the city does the right thing and upholds the zoning Overlay standards. Assertions have been made time and again that Eastwood looks the way it does because of neighbors and or the Zoning Overlay Guidelines. This is false. The reason why Eastwood has some problems with appearance is firstly because property owners, such as the owner of the old Steak and Sundae building and Byrne Dairy properties have made a conscious decision to allow these properties to fall into disrepair. The plan is for neighbors to get so fed up that we will accept what ever they decide is appropriate.
For all its connectivity to downtown, how is it that Syracuse University blew the exam on global warming? Last evening, people in great cities large and small throughout the world participated in Earth Hour. We decided to do the same, turned off all our lights and headed downtown, expecting to see people walking in the balmy evening, enjoying the 60-minute relief from light pollution, maybe even talking to each other in candle-lit bars and restaurants.
James Street is our main business district. It has a number of really super businesses on it. What happens there affects all of us, as residents, as business owners, as property owners. Those who allow their vacant buildings or lots on James St. to remain in their present ugly condition are affecting your property values. It’s time the Common Council acted more decisively to get owners to fix up these properties or sell them to someone who will develop them within the James Street Overlay District Zoning Standards.
While searching the web for what other cities are doing about vacant buildings , I came across a website simply titled “AMCBO Member Call Summary.” (AMCBO is the Association of Major City/County Building Officials.) It appears to be a summary of a meeting that took place in 2005. It’s worth a thorough read. Below I’ve pasted the ideas I found most appealing:
Several major approaches (are) being used to address what is not only a building department issue but also one that impacts police, fire, historic preservation and social services of a city.
…(S)ome cities register all structures that are vacant on a website (St. Paul, MN) with information on owner and value of the property as a way to potentially attract investors or developers who may be interested in acquiring the property for redevelopment.
Chattanooga, TN for example, tries to shame owners into making corrections by putting up 4’ X 8’ signs noting who owns the derelict building and will put ads in newspapers where the owner lives noting that they hold abandoned run down properties.
Milwaukee is considering a Board and Vacant Resolution. After 6 months, the city has authority to issue a directive to the owner giving him 30 days to make corrections and to take the boards off the abandoned structure.
Continue reading Filling in the gaps on James St.