Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fischer Place properties placed in hazard abatement program

A request by the Westwood Civic Association (WCA) to place the properties at 2857-2861 Fischer Place into the City's hazard abatement program has been granted, and a February 29 public hearing will determine if they should be razed.

The attached buildings were condemned on December 29 because of broken windows, missing copper plumbing, a defective roof, and water damage.

There were also 121 police calls to the property between 2006 and 2008, and it's considered a major hub of drug activity.

The owner of the buildings, IB Property Holdings LLC of Miami, failed to bring them into compliance by the January 29, 2009 due date.

The WCA passed a motion supporting the buildings' demolition at its January 13 meeting, calling it a "detrimental influence" on the neighborhood because of its proximity to key institutions, including schools, a library, and parks.

If approved for demolition, the building will be razed within 30 to 60 days and the owner will be invoiced.

Two redevelopment scenarios are on the table.

St. Catharine Parish has developed an initial concept plan to pour a 31-space parking lot, and Westwood Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation has been exploring the idea of building two new "green" homes.

According to city manager Milton Dohoney Jr., U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funds can be used for new housing on the site, but can't be used for a church parking lot.

The church could still acquire the property and create its own parking, funded privately or through other public programs, Dohoney says.

Previous reading on BC:
Westwood wants problem property abated, redeveloped (2/11/09)