Addressing the topic of blighted properties

Published 7:00 am Thursday, May 5, 2016

Blighted properties are a hindrance to resale values.
When a home falls into such a state of disrepair that the floors start to sag, and the roof begins to fall in, it’s time to remedy the problem.
Tuesday night the Picayune City Council heard about several such properties. As the city’s code enforcement officer described the state of these homes, it was clear what he found needs addressing.
At least half of the homes he described were in such poor condition that it would cost more to build a new home than repair the existing one.
Most would not choose to live in such a home, but a number of the residents that live in this area were said to be elderly. It’s unfortunate to consider, but once a person reaches a certain age, they really are on a fixed income. That means repairs to a home are typically out of reach, and their home continues to deteriorate. However, most of the homes discussed at length at the meeting were said to be unoccupied.
But at the same time, as the situation worsens, the property values of all those homes around them also decline, leading the community to complain. Everyone wants less government. And while that request is becoming even more prominent as more laws restrict what the general public can do, there are many reasons to have standards in homes and infrastructure.
It’s not just aesthetic. Most of these standards are for safety reasons. A failing structure becomes a danger not just to the resident, but to homes around them. If a falling roof causes an electrical short and thereby a fire, surrounding homes could come into danger. If a home becomes a breeding ground for vermin, the entire neighborhood is affected.
Residents of the Goodyear Community, which is where most of the properties described on the council’s agenda were located, expressed discontent with the city getting involved in the matter. The ones who voiced an opinion said they wanted to be left alone. But this is an area where the city should step in. Not just to protect property values, but most of all, the residents.

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