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Burlington to tackle 'nuisance properties' - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Burlington to tackle 'nuisance properties'

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Beer cans fill the trash cans and boots hang from the phone wires at 24 Bradley Street in the Hill Section of Burlington.

It's one of a dozen properties that the city's code enforcement department is calling a nuisance. Burlington has put together a list of 12 buildings where police visited a total of 150 times in the last two years for noise complaints, disorderly conduct and alcohol-fueled disturbances.

For the first time, the city is working to prevent these problem homes.

"Each of the top 12 properties was a rental property," said Bill Ward, Burlington's director of Code Enforcement. "Rental properties are under the control of the Code Enforcement Department, and I was concerned that the property owners themselves may not know the level of disorder."

Ward says the reaction from the absentee homeowners was unanimous; none of them knew about the ongoing issues.

"If the property owners don't know that their properties are causing that much of a need for service, then there is no way for them to stop it," Ward explained.

Instead of letting a small group of homes drain police resources, Code Enforcement will oversee a process to stop problems before they start.

The three-step process will target tenants, the group officials say is responsible for the problem.

The first step is contacting the landlord. Code Enforcement will subsequently inspect the property for safety violations. Next, the homeowner will work with the tenant to avoid future disturbances.

All of the problem homes were in Wards 1 or 2. Max Tracy represents Ward 2 on the Burlington City Council and lives in the area.

"It's all about accountability," Tracy said. "Those of us that live in the neighborhood have an understanding of what it means to be a good neighbor."

Tracy confirmed the houses are a nuisance, and he says if you live down the street from one, it's a headache.

"When you live on one of these streets you know, you just know," Tracy said.

The city will revise its list of delinquent homes on a rolling basis. Officials will also make the addresses of the properties publicly available.

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