Sunday, November 29, 2009

New Winterization Rules Hit Vacant Minneapolis Properties...

Photo by John Hoff

A couple weeks ago, I started noticing a new kind of official notice hitting the doors of vacant properties in North Minneapolis. As regular readers know, official placards get me all excited like a new bird gets a bird watcher excited, like a rare coin excites a coin collector. A NEW KIND OF OFFICIAL NOTICE? Be still, my foolish heart!

The new notices concern the winterization of vacant properties, and basically inform the property owner that...

They'd better winterize their property, or the city will do it for them.

At first when I saw the notices, I was glad. Absentee banks and irresponsible property owners who have gone belly up are doing great damage to North Minneapolis housing stock, simply by ignoring properties and leaving houses to be ravaged by the elements; whether it be weather or copper thieves.

However, my continued observations and conversations with sources lead me to wonder how effective the winterization program is. I see notices slapped on houses that I know for a fact were vacant last year at this time. (And how time flies! I remember winterization stories from November 2008, click here for an example)

I ask you, dear readers, what is the point of winterizing a house that has been vacant for years? The damage is already done. Maybe gaining entry to the property is useful in a regulatory way, and "winterization" is just a good excuse to get inside. In that case, I wish the city luck with all their future endeavors.

And, hey, at least the effort has produced a cool new placard for a small, obscure group of Northside hobbyists you might call "paper watchers."

2 comments:

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

I've also seen this sign posted at at least one property where I have reason to believe it is already properly winterized. So either I'm wrong about that, or this effort is misguided at times.

1915bung said...

[quote]I ask you, dear readers, what is the point of winterizing a house that has been vacant for years? The damage is already done. Maybe gaining entry to the property is useful in a regulatory way, and "winterization" is just a good excuse to get inside. In that case, I wish the city luck with all their future endeavors.[/quote]

I don't believe in posting signs on homes at all because it serves no purpose other than to degrade the community and hurt the neighbors who are still trying.

Winterization in this climate is the single most important factor in preventing decay and demolition. So, yes it is a big deal.

Perhaps if the city went after the property owners rather than the victimized dwellings with a nuisance property law they wouldn't have to come back a year later! Put some teeth in enforcement and they can cut down the money spent inspecting, demoing, and sticking up the signs that invite vandalism.