The City Of Astoria is a little cleaner and better kept as the city community development department has been responding to violations of the town's newly approved derelict building ordinance. Development Director Brett Estes reported that thus far his department has responded to 154 code violations this year. It's reported that 137 of those cases have been resolved and 17 are still hung up because of bankruptcy or are abandoned with no available contact information.
Estes says that 40% of those are complaints about non-compliant yards at homes where the owners don't cut the grass and let the weeds grow along with out-of-control shrubbery. In some cases sidewalks were overgrown to the point where they were not visible anymore. In most cases, Estes says in a staff memo that a note on the home's front door from his department was enough to motivate homeowners to clean up. Other cases have been more complex involving the city working with banks, or going through a lengthy process to find the correct property owner.
Estes details several properties in his report that have been "problem" properties for a number of years that have now been cleaned up, refurbished and are on the market for sale.
The actions are not limited to residential properties. Estes cites one example of a building in downtown at 12th and Marine Dr. that was out of compliance with some dangerous areas on the exterior where the material covering the building was cracked and breaking away and many windows were covered with plywood. While work to repair that building is underway some significant improvements have been made including the historic windows replacing plywood and the addition of historically correct windows and doors to other sections of the building.
Estes states that eight of the remaining 17 cases that are unresolved are relatively new having just been reported in the last three months. The other, he says, are foreclosed homes or the city has had difficulty in locating the owners.
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