The latest update to the city's blighted property and property watch list shows a mix of forward momentum and regression in bringing the 30 identified properties into compliance with city code.
Since the last quarterly update in July, one formerly blighted property and six identified as watch list properties have been removed. None of the remaining properties has been brought up to code, which would make them eligible for removal from the list in one year if no new violations are found.
Two properties previously given a removal date based on the date prior violations were corrected are no longer eligible for removal from the list. Duk Hee Ro, the owner of the former Asiana building at 123-125 N. Market St., among the most high-profile sites on the list, made the improvements necessary to bring the property up to code last February, according to the city's code enforcement database.
But with the property still condemned as unfit for human occupancy due to lack of basic utilities and a slew of open building permits still in progress, city staff have decided against naming a date when the site can be removed from the list, according to Nikki Bamonti, executive assistant to the mayor.
Ro didn't return phone messages for comment for this story.
The other property no longer slated for removal from the list due to new code violations, at 111 E. Seventh St., is also owned by Ro's LLC, Julia & James Properties.
Still, Mayor Randy McClement emphasized the progress achieved both in recent months and since the list's creation in June 2014.
"Staff had done a tremendous job to move things forward," he said in comments at the city workshop Wednesday.
The Frederick News-Post updates an interactive map with details about each property after the city releases the quarterly update. The following properties saw the most change, in either improvement or regression, since the last update in July:
56, 66-70 S. Market St.
Plans to replace the facades with a new building and renovate the roofless building next door with a mix of apartments and commercial offices were delayed after the property owner, Tarek Aly, of Montgomery County, failed to submit the final subdivision plat necessary for the project to move forward. The previous approvals from the Historic Preservation Commission for demolition and first-level site plans have since expired. Now, the owner must resubmit those applications for approval, which he hoped to have ready in time for the HPC's November workshop, according to Bamonti. If those applications are approved again, the subdivision plat and level-two site plans must still be reviewed and approved before construction can begin.
20 W. Fourth St.
Previous property owner Allan Pickett continues to challenge the city's ownership of his former home, which the city took over in 2011 after no other offers were made at a tax sale. Pickett sought to reverse the Historic Preservation Commission's decision to approve demolition of the structurally unsound rear addition through Frederick County Circuit Court last month, The News-Post previously reported. The judge's written opinion on the case and the decision on a second case involving his ownership rights argued before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals are pending. Even if the court upholds the HPC's demolition approval, the city does not have funding set aside to pay for the demolition, Bamonti said.
107 E. Fifth St.
After a long, high-profile series of public hearings, the Historic Preservation Commission granted owner Habitat for Humanity's request to demolish the dilapidated log cabin on the site. Executive Director Ron Cramer wrote in an emailed response that the organization is working to put together the building permit application for the demolition, while simultaneously contacting professionals to document the dismantling, as required when the HPC approved the demolition. Habitat has begun discussing the details of the sale of the property with local builder Ron Hemby, who will take ownership of the property once the cabin is demolished, Cramer wrote.
36 E. Seventh St.
Previously issued code violations — for grass and weeds and for filth and rubbish — have been addressed since Grant Scott, a new owner, took over the property in July, according to the city code enforcement database. Interior renovations are also nearly completed, and the exterior work received the necessary HPC approval in August. Bamonti said she expected the remaining work to be completed by the end of the year, making the property eligible for removal within a year of that time if no new violations are found.
111 E. Seventh St.
This residential property, also owned by Ro, was slated to come off the watch list after all previous code violations had been addressed by November 2014. A Sept. 10 reinspection of the property prompted by information from the property's former tenant revealed several new violations, including lack of basic utilities such as plumbing, according to the code enforcement database. The tenant has left, and the property has been declared unfit for human occupancy, Bamonti said. Code enforcement issued a notice of violation and will issue a citation with a fine of $400 for each of the seven violations if the violations are not met by Monday, according to Brittany Parks, assistant manager of code enforcement.
170 Baughman's Lane
After Pickett purchased the property at a recent tax sale, he has not allowed code enforcement inspectors to access the property. The fall foliage on trees outside the building makes it difficult to see potential violations from the public right of way, Bamonti said. Although Bamonti said the city could seek legal action to allow inspectors access to the property, the current plan is to reinspect the property once the leaves fall, creating greater visibility from public roads.