Albany resident Mindi Ritzman and Jennifer Dyment wrote the letter below to urge city officials to solve the problems with two dilapidated houses on their block:
“We live on the 900 block of Jackson Street, which contains two abandoned houses – 947 and 953 Jackson Street. Over the years individuals in our neighborhood have asked the city – Community Development Director, Building Manager, City Attorney, Council Members, and other city staff – for help in correcting these problems. Unfortunately, all of our individual requests have been disregarded. So we created a petition to ask, as a large group of residents affected daily by these properties, that our elected officials on the City Council simply do what is outlined in Chapters 12 & 18 of the Municipal Code.
Over the past several weeks we have circulated a petition among our neighbors. The response has been very, very positive. People are tired and frustrated by the condition of the properties and the city’s indifference. The petition currently includes over 100 signatures of neighbors and parents of students at nearby Ocean View Elementary School. We wrote to the City Administrator and Mayor Atkinson asking to present the petition at the City Council’s June 15th 2009 meeting. If they will not add us as an agenda item we will still go as a group and present it during the public forum. We have created a web site and email group to share information and ideas. Please email us for more information: JacksonStNeighborsemail@example.com
Some background on these properties: One (#947) has been abandoned for over 20 years and the other (#953) has been abandoned for over 6 years. Shortly after the City passed its nuisance abatement law in 2003, the owner(s) of the home that has been abandoned for 20 years began the process of obtaining City approval for proposed improvements to the home.
After several years of delay, aided by multiple extensions of design review deadlines from the City, the property owners(s) took out a construction permit for the house in January 2007. Minor demolition work was completed between September 2007 and October 2008. In November 2008 the house was raised approximately 10 feet above the ground and supported on stacks of wood cribbing. As of the date of this letter, the house is still raised. The old foundation has been demolished, but there isn’t a new foundation to put it on. Often, weeks go by with no work done on the house, and when someone does come to work, it is never for more than 2 hours at a time.
The owner of the other abandoned home moved to Southern California approximately 6 years ago. There is an abandoned car in the driveway that has several smashed windows, the backyard is completely overgrown with vegetation, and the neighbor takes it upon himself to periodically cut down the weeds in the front yard. As far as we can tell, no one ever comes to check on the house and the Southern California phone number that the owner gave the neighbor stopped working about 3 years ago.
Mindi Ritzman Jennifer Dyment
Residents successfully petitioned the City to act on a dilapidated house on Talbot Avenue last year. Click the links below to read several articles on the story published by Albany Today in 2008: