Huntsville City Council holds first meeting on property conditions, gets the numbers

Huntsville City Council holds first meeting on property conditions, gets the numbers

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The issue of property conditions impacts every part of Huntsville.

Wednesday, the City Council took its first steps to address it.

Huntsville Community Development presented a statistical analysis of the 2018′s property violations.

Here’s the basic breakdown:

  • In total, 9,753 unique properties were given a notice of a violation
    • 7,256 of those notices were either grass or junk related.
    • 1,493 were structural issues (everything from chipped paint to critical electrical damage)
    • “Other” comprised the remaining 1,004 notices
  • Out of town owners were responsible for 1,186 violations (12%)
  • Probable rental properties were responsible for 3,988 violations (41%)
  • 9,084 of the cases are currently in compliance with city code (93%)
    • The only category below 90% compliance is structural issues at 65%

Community Development head Michelle Jordan said the purpose of the report was to dispel public perceptions about the issue.

“We do recognize we do have some out of town property owners that we have pay a lot of attention to, but the number was lower than I think the perception was,” she said.

Jordan also said there was a perception that rental properties were another main cause of blight, however she said it was more “50/50.”

She walked the council through the departments’ inspection process, where 10 inspectors cover 218 square miles (however that number will go up to 12 this summer).

Municipal Judge Jeff Grimes also spoke to the council, giving background on the court process and at one point stating the majority of repeat offenders he sees are local.

Council members had mixed reactions to the numbers and testimony.

District 2 Councilwoman Frances Akridge said the city needs to speed up the compliance process for properties violating code.

District 3 Councilwoman Jennie Robinson said all the issues tie back to enforcement, and pushed for more resources for inspections.

District 1 Councilman Devyn Keith spoke in support of mandating the presence of property managers, to ensure there’s an individual responsible for keeping buildings up to code.

The City Council will be addressing the report and community feedback on the issue in coming meetings.

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