Over the past two and a half years I have been aggressively working on code enforcement issues. We must ensure Long Beach is a welcoming community that attracts business and maintains a place where residents are proud to live. I have noticed several homeowners stepping up and fixing up their properties by repairing and cleaning up homes, fences and lawns. Also noted are property owners with vacant land mowing their property. These actions are visible and very much appreciated by your neighbors and the city. Many positive comments have been made by business travelers and tourists.
However, we continue to have abandoned/derelict properties in Long Beach, and we as a community are still having to deal with these issues. Bottom line — they violate city codes, and they create unsafe and unsanitary conditions by attracting transients, drug users and rodents.
Currently, we have taken legal action on some property owners to have them comply with city codes. They have three options:
1. Fix up the property to comply with city code;
2. Demolish the buildings and return the property to raw land; or
3. Sell the property.
If none of these actions take place in a reasonable amount of time, if there is no communication from the owner, or if there is no plan to comply with one of these three options, the city will then take legal action to clean up the issues and go after recouping the funds we spend to abate the property.
After some research, we have found another tool we can use in the cleanup efforts. If a property has no water and/or electricity, the city will revoke the certificate of occupancy and post a notice on the property. At this point, the only person allowed on the property is an owner who has obtained a building permit to resolve the violations. Anyone else on the property is subject to arrest for a gross misdemeanor, and some arrests for these violations have occurred. This has led to decreasing our issues with abandoned/derelict properties.
To date, we have posted notices on the following properties: 1311 Washington Ave S – Sagmiller – no water, no power; 1315 Washington Ave S (west building) – Sagmiller – no water, no power; 1315 Washington Ave S (east building) – Sagmiller – no water, no power; 1315 Pacific Ave S – Fairytale Land LLC – no water, no power; 1700 Oregon Ave N – Padilla – no water, no power; 201 23rd St NE – Weseman – no water; 300 6th St NE – Winter – fire code violations, high hazard operation in a residential building, hazardous materials exposure to residents. We are currently working on other properties to revoke their certificate of occupancy.
As a community, we must work together and address these issues head on. The negative impact these properties have on the community affects tourism, future residential building, and new business development. The citizens of Long Beach have the right to enjoy a safe and healthy community.