City looks at declaring nine homes hazardous

Published 5:59 am Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Austin City Council will likely declare nine homes hazardous to the public during its public meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday, after more than a month of discussions on how to fix unsightly properties in the city.

The move is the first step in potentially getting the property owner to pay for all necessary repairs or, as city officials believe is more likely, to demolish the homes and charge the owners through liens.

The property owners in question would have 60 days to fix their properties, according to Community Development Director Craig Hoium. Failing that, the city would take each owner to court to see if they would contest the council’s resolution. Hoium said many property owners never show up for the hearing, at which point city attorneys could ask the judge for permission to either fix or demolition the home, at the owner’s expense.

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If an owner would refuse to pay, the city would assess the costs onto the property through a lien, but the city would still have to eat the cost of fixing or demolition hazardous property.

“Is there any direct cost to taxpayers? No, but we’re in essence financing having that work done until either the owner pays it, the property is sold and has to take care of that lien on the property, or going through tax forfeiture,” Hoium said.

The following homes will be declared a hazard to the public:

—405 Second Avenue Southeast

—1921 Oakland Avenue East

—611 Seventh Avenue Northwest

—406-408 Ninth Street Northeast

—710 Eighth Avenue Southeast

—801 38th Avenue Northeast

—1505 Fifth Street Southeast

—814 10th Avenue Southwest

—2114 Sixth Avenue Northeast

The council will also discuss potential flood plain zoning ordinance updates, as well as potential Hormel Foundation grants and preliminary discussions on the city’s proposed 2014 budget and tax levy.