by Charlie London
This was the twentieth BlightStat meeting to which the public was invited to attend.
The City continues to march toward its goal of eradicating 10,000 blighted properties within three years. City departments that can help with this process meet every two weeks for a “BlightStat” meeting.
Goals have been set for each department and a presentation is made at each meeting to show how each department is doing toward meeting those goals.
BELOW ARE NOTES FROM THE
August 11th BLIGHTSTAT MEETING
The City’s Law Department is considering the use of interns for title research. The interns would be trained on Accela as part of their service. C.S. Lear asked that the Department of Sanitation be included on any Accela training.
Ms. Illarmo asked for an “in house” Accela person. Mr. Square indicated that is currently happening.
Ms. Illarmo indicated that there is an uptick in scheduled hearings but the total hearings completed remains far below the hearings target of 450 hearings every two weeks. One hundred hearings were completed over the last two weeks.
Of the cases completed there is a larger percentage of cases found guilty and a larger percentage of properties coming into compliance due to the threat of fines. Undesirable resets are down.
Ms. Illarmo stated that the hearings backlog should go down significantly once the data from the research days is entered into the system.
Mr. Carrere indicated that utility disconnects have been coordinated and demolitions continue to progress. Ms. Wilkerson discussed LLT demolitions. She indicated that funding is an issue but resources are being investigated to find funding to continue the mission of the LLT.
Mr. Carrere said his department is investigating previous applications for demolition denied by SHPO.
Mr. Wolcott discussed the FEMA demolition process and progress. A flow chart was presented and Mr. Wolcott indicated that inspections, abatement, and demolitions are all going on at the same time. His goal is to have at least one crew demolishing a house 6 days each week without stopping.
Mr. Hebert indicated that the Federal Government has forced the City to operate within their guidelines for demolitions. This slows the process.
Mr. Keith Ferrouillet discussed the Interim Nuisance Abatement Program. He indicated that the many rain days prevented a lot of the grass from being cut.
Twenty-nine FEMA trailers remain. All of the trailers should have been removed by now.
Ms. Lear discussed illegal dumping. She indicated that additional resources have been found which will help the work of the Sanitation Ranger continue. Tires removed are down but that is a function of how many get illegally dumped. Enforcement continues.
The City Attorneys are working in conjunction with the Sanitation Department to prosecute illegal dumpers.
Mr. Granderson said the number of files reviewed for Sherrif sale remains constant. The emphasis is on the quality of the case file. Mr. Tyler Gray indicated that the law department has reviewed 2,000 files. Mr. Wolcott indicated that the Law Department has been very efficient and a pleasure to work with.
Properties in Mid-City, N.O. East, and the 9th Ward will all be going into a Sherrif’s sale in September. Click HERE for more information.
Mr. Wesley Bayas indicated the auction training program done by the PRC went really well. This should eliminate a lot of confusion for buyers. Mr. Hebert indicated that Ms. Breaux and Mr. Gray went to the PRC seminar. Mr. Gray indicated that they answered some questions about blight. Ms. Breaux indicated that the seminar was extremely well attended and went well. Mr. Brad Vogel indicated that 120 people attended and was grateful for the participation of the law department.
Mr. Granderson indicated you will always see properties drop off the sale list as people pay fines to keep their property from being sold. A large amount dropped off this bi-weekly period. Total amount collected so far this year for lien foreclosures is $449,866.
Ms. Wilkerson continued the meeting with a discussion of NORA sales. She indicated there are around 900 properties working toward the closing process. More of the NSP2 properties are going to closing. About 60 of the 90 auction properties will close.
Properties bought at auction have to have the blight remediated within 90 days with substantial renovation happening within 360 days.
Ms. Wilkerson indicated that more information is needed for auction buyers such as if the property needs to be elevated etc.
Mr. Hebert asked Mr. Vogel about this and Mr. Vogel indicated that the City is often telling people that houses need to be elevated when they don’t have to be elevated.
The NORA inventory backlog remains high at 3,710. Public auction at UNO on September 10th. Thirty of those properties will be from Lakeview.
Mr. Wise discussed the Blight Performance slide and indicated that the team was doing “pretty good”. Questions from the audience were read and answered. Meeting adjourned.
WHO: Key blight policy and code enforcement staff
8:00-9:30 AM CST
9TH Floor—City Planning Conference Room
New Orleans, LA 70117