Council tackles more blighted propertiesFeb 22nd, 2013 | By Jessica Gonzalez | Category: News
The St. Bernard Parish Council voted to demolish four more abandoned, blighted properties at the February 20 meeting, one of which is the old Randazzo’s building in Violet—a structure the council felt was priority number one in terms of threats to public health and safety. The owners of these four properties had been served but did not attend the hearing.
Before properties can be legally demolished by the parish, owners must be served for a public hearing in front of the parish council and building inspectors, where they can appeal or agree to the demolition. After hearing the property owners’ case, the council then votes on the necessary action to take.
A hefty round of demolition hearings began in September, where nearly 60 structures were up on the chopping block. During those hearings, several homeowners who proved to the housing inspector and council that they had made significant improvements to their homes, were given standard agreements to sign. Standard agreements entail that the property owner had nine-months or until May 31, 2013, to get the building up to par or it would be placed on the demo list.
Of those nearly 60 properties from the September 2012 demolition hearings, only 12 were sentenced to be demolished.
The list from the February 19 council agenda had 21 properties up for council review, but several of the owners were given standard agreements— with the same deadlines May 31 deadline. And several were unable to be served the proper documents.
Councilman Guy McInnis said he found the process backward—the property owners who actually come to the hearings and show that they are trying with the means they have to make progress are fighting to keep off the demo list, while those who cannot be reached dodge the demo list altogether.
“There are people here, asking for time and we’re giving time to people who aren’t even here…we can’t even get in touch with them,” said McInnis.
Also related to the future landscape of St. Bernard, the Housing, Redevelopment and Quality of Life Committee are holding a public meeting on February 26 at 7 p.m. where residents can give input on the LLT lot disposal plan.
In other council news, Parish President Dave Peralta announced that the St. Bernard Parish Fire Civil Service Board will be accepting applications to establish an eligibility list for several positions including Fire Fighter, Fire Communications Officer, Fire Prevention Officer, Fire Captain, Fire District Chief, and Deputy Fire Chief.