CARROLLTON MAKING PROGRESS CLEARING BLIGHTED PROPERTIES
The City of Carrollton continues to improve the appearance, property values and health of its neighborhoods by removing dilapidated, dangerous and unsightly buildings. “Blighted structures are a burden on property owners, the surrounding neighborhood and on the city itself,” said Mayor Betty Cason. “Repairing or demolishing them creates a better environment for our residents.” Carrollton has offered demolition services to citizens with dilapidated structures on their property since 2014. The city will demolish and remove a structure for free, while the property owner keeps title to the land. A reappraisal of the post-demolition property usually reduces the landowner’s taxes.
The mayor and council passed the Ordinance for Unsafe Buildings in 2016, which codified the demolition policy and added a process the city can use to remove blighted structures when the property owner can’t be found or doesn’t want to do anything about structures that have been deemed unsafe. Cason and the council have made blighted property mitigation a city priority. “This process is a valuable tool we can use to make our neighborhoods healthier and happier,” Councilmember Brett Ledbetter said. Staff from several city departments, including Codes Enforcement, Planning and Zoning, the city attorney, Public Works, Community Development and others, review a list of blighted properties each week. The list comes from a variety of sources like police officers, neighbors and property owners. City departments conduct property inspections (including for asbestos), make public notice postings and track down property owners and their heirs. If the property owner accepts demolition, Public Works demolishes the structure. If a property owner declines demolition and fails to initiate a mitigation plan within 12 months, the city can choose to repair, alter, close or demolish the structure. The process can take anywhere from two to six months.
The city has demolished 56 structures since 2014, 19 since January of 2020, seven of those in 2021. ”The neighbors are happier, the police are happier with fewer places for illicit activities, the area is healthier not being a home for rats and snakes and pests,” said Cason. “Overall, it’s been a very positive experience.”
Citizens who are interested in this service should contact the Engineering Department at 770-830-2000 to schedule an on-site inspection to determine if a structure is blighted.