In an ongoing effort to reduce the city’s vacant and boarded up building stock, members of the El Paso City Council are considering streamlining the process for deciding what is and what isn’t an abandoned property.
As it now stands, two separate panels with a total of 27 members review such properties and send on their recommendations to the city’s Building and Standards Commission in order to determine if an abandoned or substandard property has reached the point where it is in violation of city law.
If it is determined that a structure truly is abandoned, a process leading to its eventual demolition can begin.
But some city officials have said that the reviewing process with two separate panels is too cumbersome, leading to a new proposal calling for only one panel, with 9 members, which would be partly made up of an engineer, architect, and realtor.
Earlier reports indicate that there are more than 100 abandoned buildings in El Paso, a large segment of which are located in the central and oldest part of the city.
Many of those structure are in an extreme state of disrepair, with some attracting vagrants, and all are at risk of fire.
City officials say a more streamlined review process will result in either the owners of the abandoned properties committing to a rebuilding schedule, or a determination to finally demolish the structure once and for all.
By Garry Boulard
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