Editorial: Fairness could be challenged without policy

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 30, 2004

At what point does the city council decide it’s time for a structure to come down?

Right now, it seems purely arbitrary.

The council needs to get a policy in place for ordering demolition of buildings. In recent months, the council has been faced with two instances where the fate of buildings has come into question. In one instance, the council has given the building’s owner more time to fix it, and in the other, it’s ordered the building demolished without giving the owner any chances.

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The council needs to have written guidelines and timelines so it can point to specific reasons for ordering a building demolished. It can be as lenient as it wants, and can even include loopholes for those owners who are injured.

As it stands now, it hardly seems fair that some property owners continue to get more time, and others, like Mike Spurr, who appeared before the council this week after spending a year recovering from broken bones, was told his house would be demolished even though he had the means to fix it, had been getting contracts and even felt the building could be brought up to code within three months.

We understand the council’s desire to clear the community of buildings that are unsightly and unsafe. No one likes to see buildings falling down. They shed a poor light on the whole community.

But at the same time, the council must be consistent or it may find itself facing other consequences in the form of lawsuits.