I have a problem with the article on blighted properties that ran in The Frederick News-Post on May 23.

First, I agree that if a property has a code or other violations, then it should be addressed.

Here’s the problem I have from reading the mayor’s, aldermen’s and NAC 11’s comments. It appears they don’t like properties that have no other violations other than being vacant. Mayor O’Connor states: “There are some buildings in downtown Frederick that have not had tenants for many, many years, more than 10 in some instances. And while they may be well-maintained, because they are vacant, they are detracting from the vibrancy of downtown.”

So let me get this right: The mayor, aldermen and NAC 11 members feel that they have the right to tell a property owner that their property must be occupied because they don’t like it vacant. I somehow don’t think the government can tell a property owner that it has to be occupied. I don’t think this would be constitutional. I didn’t know it was a crime to have a vacant property that is well-maintained. It may be a bad business/personal choice for the owner, but I don’t see how this would be a legal reason for the city to say it must be occupied or they can seize it with no other violations.

If the mayor, aldermen and NAC 11 members are so concerned about blighted/vacant properties, they may want to look at cleaning up the many, many homeless camps within the city limits. These camps have been here just as long as some of the “blighted” properties they seem so concerned about and want to seize and have had no enforcement on them. The homeless camps are more of a health hazard than most of the blighted properties. They have no required plumbing or other sanitation, which I believe is required by law. They are in violation of city, county and state codes as well as several criminal laws.

Maybe the mayor, aldermen and NAC 11 members should start enforcing code violation equally and all the citizens of this city and not just the ones they choose.

Bradley Baxter

Frederick

(14) comments

threecents

The movie "Leave no trace" changed my opinions on homeless camps. It was made by Debra Granik, who also made the transcendent movie, "Winter's Bone".

public-redux

What was your opinion before and what is it now?

threecents

I would rather not say.

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Samanthapowers

Seven, the question should be what is right with him? We already know what is wrong with him.

petersamuel

Mr Baxter: you are right in drawing attention to the NAC report's error in conflating blighted and vacant buildings. A blighted building detracts from the value of buildings around and is a legitimate concern to neighbors. But buildings being vacant can improve values, since vacancy is part of the process of redevelopment, enabling new businesses and residential use to be found and provided for. Vacancy is often necessary to get building work done. A downtown needs to be in a constant state of adjustment and change for it to be dynamic and viable. Periods of vacancy are essential for that to occur. Opportunities for new places to live, work and shop are provided by a changing mix of vacant places from which people can choose.

francesca_easa

Mr. Baxter. I too am saddened to see a beautiful town being compromised by trash, graffiti and people who think it acceptable to cuss and loiter. For all of those who are offended by my agreement, how many of you regularly feed tgem or would allow them to camp out on your property?

sevenstones1000

I would - Jesus

Dwasserba

"Detracting from the vibrancy of downtown" is just accurate to say. A "crime" - who said that?

KellyAlzan

For once I agree with Brad's every word.

I even agree with his mentioning of homeless camps, based on the premise of lack of a sanitary sewer system and plumbing. I know of a campground (for RV's) that got shut down because they didn't have a sanitary sewer or plumbing system for the RV's. And the RV's are self contained!

And I agree, demanding that property owners have the structures occupied is dictatorship. However, there are easy loopholes. Write a lese for your 15 year old to have a desk in the building and say its his office. Or, write a lease for your aunt to stay there when she's in town from Italy once a year.

joelp77440

"These camps have been here just as long as some of the "blighted" properties they seem so concerned about and want to seize and have had no enforcement on them. The homeless camps are more of a health hazard than most of the blighted properties." This is the classic "re-direct" argument technique. A completely unrelated topic that stirs emotion and distracts from the message.

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Thewheelone

Mr. Baxter lives on the "right" side of the tracks and lacks compassion for those much less fortunate than him. Lots of that going around these days...

oldmagpie11

this letter is a perfect example of how property owners defend a blatant "dog in the manger" owner's-rights position in the middle of scarcity - and present homelessness as a sin. Feudalist much?

shiftless88

Owning a building in a city is a bit like buying in an HOA neighborhood; there are some expectations that go beyond those for people owning a building in the country.

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