Cracking down on blighted buildings

Published 10/17 2012 05:28PM

Updated 10/17 2012 06:22PM

CHAMPAIGN -- City leaders are taking steps to crack down on blighted buildings. They plan to do that by holding homeowners responsible for properties. Some buildings have been empty for years.

City leaders found more than 180 homes that could be considered a nuisance. They hope giving owners a time limit for repairs will encourage them to act quickly.

Peeling paint, boarded up windows and busted siding are all bad signs to neighbors who live near abandoned homes.

"It's full of termites, the roof has been blowing off in pieces and the owner keeps saying he's going to redo it, but nothing seems to happen," said Georgia Caraway. "We're concerned."

Caraway said the empty home on her block is an eyesore.

"It tends to drag the neighborhood down a little," said Caraway. "You wouldn't want to be living right next to it."

"The vacant structure becomes an attractive nuisance in the neighborhood and either transients or children that are curious or other criminal activity," said David Cook, who works for the Neighborhood Services Department.

The city council voted to make stricter standards for homeowners, even if no one lives inside. City leaders sends a notice when homes aren't up to code. Now the owner is on a deadline to fix it up.

"We're looking for something that they can bring that house back up to standards within a year," said Oliver. "Or if they're planning to demolish it as part of the remediation, that would take place between six months."

Non-compliant owners would need to register with the Neighborhood Services Department. Some said they're glad the city is holding homeowners responsible.

"I understand it's expensive to fix up houses, but if you're going to buy one, follow through," said Caraway.

The new rules go into effect November 1. To find out more about the code, click here

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