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A welfare program for destruction companies?

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Chandler council considers demolition program for blighted properties

Posted: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 3:54 pm | Updated: 8:43 pm, Tue Jan 25, 2011.

By Dan Zeiger, Tribune

Potentially coming to a Chandler neighborhood: An extreme home makeover. Well, at least the demolition part.

The City Council on Thursday will vote on a resolution to create a Voluntary Demolition Program, in which blighted, uninhabitable residential properties would be taken down.

"It would help everybody involved (with the property)," Mayor Jay Tibshraeny said. "The property owner benefits with a chance to build anew. But getting rid of the eyesore helps the perception of the neighborhood, and hopefully, the home values."

The city has identified older, non-HOA residential areas near downtown as program candidates, Chandler neighborhood programs coordinator Jennifer Morrison said.

The program would be funded with $140,000 of federal Community Development Block Grant monies.

To qualify, a property must be vacant for at least 90 days and be current on all taxes. Owners must provide a 25 percent cash contribution toward demolition and maintain the property afterward.

"We've done some investigation and found that some people need assistance in this area," Morrison said. "There's all kinds of reasons why some structures deteriorate, and not all are because the owners are neglectful. Hopefully, this program will help eliminate blights on some neighborhoods and take care of an issue some people have struggled with knowing how to handle."

Morrison said that the estimated cost of each demolition is $25,000, meaning only a handful of properties will be razed. However, the program could continue or expand if city officials consider it a success and more grant funds can be secured.

"Hopefully, this will become a tool that the city has in collaboration with homeowners to stabilize neighborhoods," Morrison said.

Could the program expand to commercial properties? Tibshraeny said that in the past, Chandler has used a similar approach to removed blighted multi-family units.

"Could we use it for bigger structures? We'd have to see," Tibshraeny said. "It depends. We'll consider that after we review the (residential) program. Hopefully, we'll get a good bang for our buck on it."


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