Code Enforcement: 60 Gainesville homes on dangerous building list

Dangerous buildings .jpg

Rotting floorboards, piles of trash and caved in roofs are among the hazards you’ll find in the nearly 60 Gainesville homes city code enforcement calls dangerous buildings.

Code enforcement officers say these homes are so dilapidated, decayed and unsanitary that they pose a danger to health and safety.

“We look at the structural integrity of the house and would it harm someone to be in and around that home,” Code enforcement manager Jeff Look said.

Dotty Faibisy lives right across the street from a home that is now listed as a dangerous building.

“Every day when I look out my front windows or come out my front door that’s what I see,” Faibisy said.

She said the home has been abandoned for years.

“Its been empty for quite some time. before that there were people in and out of it and at one time there were even squatters in there which was quite disturbing.”

Code enforcement officer Todd Martin is tasked with identifying the dangerous buildings around the city. He uses a five-star rating system to determine the most dangerous homes.

Martin’s rating system also takes into account the level of crime activity the dangerous home is bringing into a neighborhood.

“If the police department is going to that property 10 or 15 times a month we want to get rid of it,” Martin said.

Once a home has been given a five-star rating the owner has two options – repair it or see it demolished

“If they fail to do so in a reasonable amount of time then the city has granted us a budget to go in and demolish homes,” Look said.

However, demolition isn’t cheap – it can cost anywhere from $2,000 to as much as $10,000 to demolish a home.

With a budget of only $27,000 a year demolishing all the homes on the list simply isn’t possible.

“There are approximately 60 homes on the list right now. We are budgeted enough money to do somewhere between 5 and 7 of those homes each year,” Look said.

However, that means homes like one severely burned by a fire in Gainesville’s southeast historic district have a second chance.

The owner is working to rebuild it.

“so, this is one of the ones that may become a good thing,” Martin said. “It could turn around and be something nice hopefully.”

Fabisy also believes in second chance -- she's lived in the historic pleasant street district for nearly 20 years and would like to see its history and charm maintained.

“I would not want to see it demolished, i would hope that they could save it and renovate it.”

She said renovating homes could help solve Gainesville’s affordable housing crisis

“To see a house like this sitting empty year after year and people in need of houses you wonder if something else could be done.”

Until then code enforcement plans to stay on the job – one house at a time

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