City of Frederick staff has made progress in the last nine months to rid the city’s streets of vacant and blighted properties, but has hit roadblocks on some problem spaces.
Of the 30 properties on the city’s blighted and vacant properties list and watch list, 14 are now up to property code, and progress has been made on many others. Yet, in the last three months, the city didn’t see much progress on some of the properties, whether that was because the ownership is unknown, weather prohibited work, or the owner didn’t comply.
The city first made the list in June, listing four properties that staff members had legally defined as blighted, meaning they pose health and safety issues and a pattern of problems, and 26 other properties that weren’t as bad but would still be monitored closely. All properties had at least one open code violation. The city is updating the list every quarter on its website.
Since the list was created, city staff has been checking in regularly with the property owners, issuing notices for code violations when needed and, in some cases, following through with abatement work or fines. In the last three months, two more properties became up to code. In the nine months overall, four have been sold to new owners, some of whom have signed consent orders with the city upon purchase that they will fix up the property; two or three of the properties were foreclosed upon and are now owned by banks.
The progress that has been made is because of the “almost constant pressure code enforcement is putting on it,” said Nikki Bamonti, Mayor Randy McClement’s executive assistant.
The winter weather stalled renovations on a few properties, Bamonti said.
“By the June update, there will be significant changes,” she said.
The Frederick News-Post updates an interactive map with details about each property every quarter after the city’s update goes live. Here are the properties that saw the most change since the last update in January:
123-125 N. Market Street
While there are no current open code violations for this property, the site of the old Asiana restaurant, issues still remain. Brickwork on the side of the building was done without city approvals, and there are still open permits for work that has not been completed inside the building.
328 N. Market St.
As of February, work was completed and there are no longer open code violations on this property.
56 and 66-70 S. Market St.
The 66-70 S. Market St. property does not have a building on the site, but rather fake facades, with nothing but a vacant lot behind them. A developer has plans to build new condominiums on the site, including 56 S. Market St., and took the plans to the Historic Preservation Commission in January and was told to make changes. Since, the city has not received an updated plan. In 2011, the city gave a developer approval for an addition at 56 S. Market St., and in 2012 for a historic preservation approval, said Gabrielle Collard, the city’s manager of current planning. Other plans were reviewed by city planning staff at that time, but nothing has been submitted since, Collard said.
20 W. Fourth St.
The city owns this property after taking it from the previous owner, and the Historic Preservation Commission recently approved the demolition of the back of the building. Now, the owner has filed appeals on the ownership and commission’s decision. The mayor has not yet budgeted for the demolition, Bamonti said.
107 E. Fifth St.
This dilapidated historic log building is owned by Habitat for Humanity. It would be too expensive for the nonprofit to renovate the building, so it went to the Historic Preservation Commission for permission to be demolished, said Ron Cramer, Habitat’s executive director. The Commission suggested that Habitat take steps to document the building before the demolition. Cramer is working with Preservation Maryland to secure a grant to have the building documented before the demolition. The item will go back to the commission soon, Cramer said.
238 E. Seventh St.
As of March 24, work was completed and there are no longer open code violations on this property.
109 W. South St.
This property now has a new owner who is working with the Historic Preservation Commission to get renovations approved.
452 Carrollton Drive
Local nonprofits came together to see that this property was brought up to code. (See related story)
597 E. Church St.
The city took this property owner to court, and the court ordered an abatement for grass and weeds.