Knox Mayor Dennis Estok says the city can do a better job with code enforcement. Efforts have been stepped up recently to address unsafe buildings. During Monday evening’s town hall meeting, Estok said structures that can’t be rehabilitated are ordered to be torn down.
So far four houses have been razed with money from a blight elimination grant. Another four are under contract for demolition, and the city is seeking approval for two more.
The street department is also tearing down a house the city recently acquired.
Estok said the street department is tearing down a house the city recently acquired. He says they’re going to try to recruit a developer to build a small house on the lot in order to get the property back on the tax rolls. If that doesn’t work out, Estok says a couple of neighbors have expressed an interest in purchasing the property.
He adds code enforcement is an involved, time consuming process. For starters, it requires a title search to determine who owns or has an interest in the property. If the city has to do work like cut grass or clean up trash, the owner gets a bill. If it’s not paid, a judgement can be ordered or a special assessment can be levied against the property. Estok says the city eventually gets its money back, but it’s a longer process.
Code enforcement efforts include everything from nuisances like tall grass and junky lawns to more serious concerns like unsafe or uninhabitable buildings. Estok says the former get a 10 day notice to clean things up, while the latter is a much more involved process. He says the city needs good documentation in all cases in the event such matters wind up in court.