JAMESTOWN – Dozens turned out on Monday night to discuss several newly proposed housing ordinances in Jamestown, meant to combat the growing scourge of blight.
The three proposed pieces of legislation, as Director of Development Crystal Surdyk tells us, includes Rental Inspection, Vacant Property Registration, and Public Nuisances to help combat the housing blight that plagues the City of Jamestown
“We’re proposing three ordinances,“ explained Surdyk. “An update to our current nuisance ordinance. A vacant property ordinance, which would establish a registry for vacant properties in the city. And then a rental inspection ordinance.”
Local landlord Mike Brezner believes that officials should take their time to make sure new ordinances are fair to both the landlord, and tenants.
“Consider the fact that this is being rushed into,“ stated Brezner. “I really believe that there’s some discussion necessary to avoid what I would call unintended consequences. I think there is a lot of burden being put on the landlords.”
“Not all landlords are bad,“ says Brezner. “There’s a lot of good landlords in town, there’s a lot of individual homeowners that rent a single unit or two units of the same house they’re in.”
Other problems at hand include the ability to contact landlords and tenants in emergency situations, tenant accountability, and the manpower needed to make sure housing is kept up to official standards.
“What I read seemed to address, basically attack if you will, it’s a hard word but the tenants are not being held accountable for what they do,“ explained Harold Whitford, president of the Real Estate Investors Association. “We’re being held accountable as if they are our children, and they’re not. We need something in 215 to address tenant responsibility.”
In the end, officials tabled all ordinances to gather more public input on the proposed plans.
“Talk through solutions and hopefully come out with a compromise that suits everybody,“ stated Surdyk.
Officials plan to gather more input from the Real Estate Investors Association in a future meeting, others that would like to submit their opinions are encouraged to contact anyone from the housing committee.