Monday, April 05, 2010

Astoria: Derelict, Abandoned, Delapidated Properties: A Cure Or A Curse?

Tonight April 5, 2010, The City of Astoria plans to unveil the result of Acrchitects input on the remodel/renovation of our City Hall and also host a discusiion on what to do with our fine city's delapidated, abandoned and derelict properties.

An interesting irony here is that our own City Hall is adjacent and attached to an abandoned, delapidated building in the old Waldorf Hotel, itself in a forced exile for lack of an investor or real plan to bring it back to life.

Add to this the controversial downtown Flavel properties among others and other properties to east and west, we have a real mess and a very touchey situation as to how to enforce some movement remedying these, what some would call blights on our cityscape.

The big question is...Do we punish these property owners or help them and then how do we enforce the final resolution?

Just on my side of town there are several properties that alone riase some serious enforcement question of which I will let you decide and here they are.
31st & Marine: A property with a structure more commonly called "The Bunkhouse" and by the way, listed on the National Historic Register,still languishing under the ownership of a local and prominent businessman and is still a virtual, unuseable shell of a building with no indication of it or any of the other parts of the property but, one, a habitable house, progressing any further that it is now.
Empty, Unkempt Property On Marine Drive Between 30th & 31st: Just as described with no hint of any future improvement or immediate improvement.
31st & Marine Drive: More Commonly called "The Wolf House" and a onetime beautiful home left to die simply because of lack of any ind of money to bring it back as much as the owner would love to. There has been some recent work by, I would guess, Community Action, a Non-Profit assistance group that has, through grants, upgrade the entries for safer entry and exit. The owner of the property immediately behind has been restoring his own home but, Money to finish is that obstacle there.
Hauke Landslide Property: sits there,after massive mitigation of a careless and destructive mistake on somebody's part of which we will likely never, just growing rocks and Alders with no hint of any kind of use or improvement whatsoever other than a convenient place to post temporary, uncontrolled signs for whatever group that may have some event going on at the moment.
33rd and Franklin: At the gateway into the Uppertown-Adair neighborhood
that is, from all appearances, a terribly mismanaged and neglected rental property with a growing reputation of being a place of nefarious activity.
So, who and how do we punish and reward these properties and under what criteria?


Anonymous said...

Mind your own Goddamn business, McGee. Quit trying to stick your nose into other people's stuff

Patrick McGee said...

"Anonymous said...
Mind your own Goddamn business, McGee. Quit trying to stick your nose into other people's stuff."

Do you live in East Astoria, Uppertown-Adair "Anonym"?

Anonymous said...

What do your mean that the Hauke Landslide was a careless and destructive mistake on SOMEONE'S part? Contractor Jim Wilkins did the work that caused the problem and then Public Works Director and Wilkins cronie Mitch Mitchum allowed it to happen. Just look at the records in the Public Works Department or even the reports in the Daily A at those times. People who want to cure this problem should look to those two to pay for it. And, Patrick, I thought you were a fan of naming names, and I can't believe you were unaware of the culprits.

JP Christie said...

It's my humble opinion this idea to "punish" or "help" property owners is a bad idea for Astoria. Now however I think the market place has to determine the fate of these structures. Foreclosures are at or near an all time high with no end in sight. For the city to get involved with forcing property owners to spend money they don't have or worse yet pour municipal funds into properties for which there is little demand is wrong headed. Don't get me wrong, the state of disrepair of all the Flavel properties upsets me as much as anyone. The demand ( or lack there of )for commercial properties still has some settling to do IMO. The state of these houses at the east end does not bother me nearly as much. I don't think you could pick a worse time to do this sort of thing. Astoria didn't get to be the way it is by copying everybody else. Lets not start now.

Patrick McGee said...

I don't think you could have made a better point Pierce.

Dick said...

The problem of derelict houses in Astoria is not new and actually cropped up when US economics were flush. Using the current economic downturn to excuse building owners who have allowed their property to degrade is not accurate and not right. Mr. Christie may like living next to a vacant, crumbling house with a yard overgrown in weeds and rats in the basement, but other taxpayers do not. The community must have certain standards, which is the reason cities were created in the first place. Unfortunately, we have gotten away from shame being a motivator and are left with the government. It's a shame, but that is where we are. So, the government needs to enforce the standards WE enact into law. Indeed, Patrick, if the City had just left the vacant lumberyard as it was, you would not have been able to draw all those houses at the Mill Pond - and made the commensurate amount of money.