City of Greensboro considering ‘good repair’ ordinance to fix unsafe, unsightly non-residential buildings

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The City of Greensboro wants your feedback. On Wednesday, it is holding a public information session about a potential new ordinance called “good repair.”

Councilman Justin Outling told FOX8 the ordinance would be a tool for the city to encourage property owners to fix unsafe and unsightly non-residential buildings.

“City can and must step in,” Outling said. “All the city is trying to do here is do exactly what it's done for decades with residential properties… ensure that non-residential properties aren't itself a safety and health risk and don't serve as a blight on our community.”

If a building fails to meet requirements and owners don’t fix the issues, the minimum housing standard commission will work with them. The city could take over repairs and in extreme conditions demolish properties.

Outling showed us two vacant buildings downtown that likely wouldn’t pass the code if it goes into effect. One is located on the corner of Washington and Elm streets.

The property owner said he didn’t know the city moved forward with a comment period and wanted to learn more before speaking out.

Dawn Chaney, of Chaney properties, owns buildings nearby. She thinks “good repair” is a good idea.

“We all lose when someone does not keep their building to a level that can be adapted,” Chaney said.

Dawn has spent years fixing up structures; including buildings that now house places like 1618 Downtown and Jerusalem Market.

“It benefits everybody because as every building increases with value it increases its tax base,” Chaney said. “When you increase the tax base of our city it helps prevent all of us from having accelerated taxes.”

Zack Matheny, the president of Downtown Greensboro Inc., said he sees both sides to this.

“It's a delicate balance,” Matheny said.

Matheny believes the city having the option to take action is a good thing. He also thinks there needs to be opportunities, like incentives, for property owners who inherited the properties and or might not be able to afford the fixes.

“I think we need to have open dialogue so people know something is on the books,” Matheny said. “Now, how can we work together to help you upgrade your building.”

A public information session is taking place Wednesday at the Greensboro Central Library from 4:30 to 7 p.m.

People can also share their thoughts with the city until June 3.

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