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.