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VACANT/BOARDED STRUCTURES. Deanna JeffersonSmith Assistant City Attorney/Community Prosecutor John Hancock Code Department Acting Assistant Director. Council’s Strategic Goals. Make Fort Worth the Nation’s Safest, Cleanest, and Most Attractive Major City. 2. Purpose.

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Presentation Transcript
vacant boarded structures


Deanna JeffersonSmith

Assistant City Attorney/Community Prosecutor

John Hancock

Code Department Acting Assistant Director

council s strategic goals
Council’s Strategic Goals

Make Fort Worth the Nation’s Safest, Cleanest, and Most Attractive Major City.


  • Make public aware of current problems with structures that are vacant and boarded
  • Show negative impact of vacant/boarded structures throughout the city
  • Propose new vacant/boarded structure program
  • Get feedback from public
  • Report public’s feedback to Council


current ordinance
Current Ordinance
  • Current ordinances address when a building has to be boarded/secured, but does not address time limitations.
  • Collapse hazards can be demolished through the Building Standards Commission.
  • Non-collapse and non-hazardous structures cannot be demolished in the same manner.
  • Many vacant/boarded structures are not collapse hazards; therefore, a demolition order cannot be obtained.


effects of vacant boarded structures
Effects of Vacant/Boarded Structures
  • Neglected structures create a perception in the community that no one cares;
  • These properties attract transients, drug users, drug dealers, public intoxication, prostitution, and other criminal activities;
  • Overall, these structures have an adverse impact on quality of life, feeling of safety, and pose serious threats to public health, welfare and safety.

Source: “The Revitalization of Vacant Properties: Where Broken Windows Meet Smart Growth”

International City/County Management Association


local impact of vacant boarded structures
Local Impact of Vacant/Boarded Structures
  • Blight on community
  • Signs of a neighborhood in distress
  • Contributes to the degrading quality of life and health, safety, and welfare of a community


crime related to vacant boarded structures
Crime related to Vacant/Boarded Structures
  • The Police Department identified and researched four vacant/boarded structures with significant call and arrest volumes (Data from February 2007 to May 2008).
  • Locations 1 and 2
    • 86 calls for service
    • 4,500 minutes time on call
    • 34 total arrests
    • 44 total citations
  • Location 3:
    • 1 robbery
    • 1 arson
    • 2 drug arrests
    • 8 cited for occupying substandard housing
  • Location 4:
    • 4 narcotic search warrants
    • 9 arrests for weapons, drugs, and warrants

Category I Structures

  • Category I structures exist in such a condition that further neglect could result in the structure becoming a “dangerous building”:
    • Inadequate maintenance
    • Dilapidation
    • Decay
    • Faulty construction
    • Damage from fire or exposure to the elements
  • Examples:
    • Collapsing
    • Wracked, warped, buckled or settled
    • Remains of structure after partial demolition



Category II Structures

  • Category II structures exist in such a condition of disrepair that further neglect could result in the structure becoming a Category I.
    • Multiple defects or conditions which would require permits to do repairs.
  • Examples:
    • Damage from a fire or natural disaster.
    • Damage from deteriorated shingles, holes in the roof or rotted decking.
    • Rotten, damaged or missing siding.


other city s practices
Other City’s Practices

Pittsburgh, PA:

  • Owner registers vacant building within 30 days of building becoming vacant.
  • $300 fee for failure to register vacant building.
  • Exemption for building that have suffered fire damage or damaged caused by extreme weather conditions.
  • The buildings are inspected for enforcement and compliance.
  • Report to Mayor and City Council every 6 months.
  • Violation or presenting false evidence results in a $300 daily fine.


other city s practices continued
Other City’s Practices Continued

Cincinnati, OH

  • Owner required to obtain a boarding license after structure is determined to be uninhabitable.
  • If a structure is rehabilitated or renovated the license is no longer required.
  • Fee for the initial year is $900 and then increases to $2,700 a year.
  • If fees are not paid, the City can institute a civil action and file a lien on the property leading to foreclosure.
  • Owner must maintain liability insurance in the amount of $300,000.00 for residential property, and $1 million for commercial property.


consequences for non compliance
Consequences for Non-Compliance
  • Fines
  • Building Standards Commission
  • Chapter 54 Lawsuit
      • Enforcement of Municipal Ordinances
  • Chapter 125 Lawsuit
      • Nuisance Abatement