Sunday, March 6, 2016

Pretty Vacant

Granola Park has a rundown on the discussion of the proposed abandoned and vacant property registry.  As has previously suggested, at least one city council member believes that city property owners should be required to notify the city if their property has or will be unoccupied for an extended period of time and also "they have to state what they are going to do about fixing it up and maintaining it while it is vacant.  Otherwise they face fines."  (I can't imagine anyone truly abandoning a property and then bothering to inform the powers-that-be so perhaps the city will add those properties.)  (And my explanation if required would be "Keeping my property in minimal compliance with applicable code to keep the city off my back, jack."  Sometimes, you just have to stand up to The Man.)

Anyway, at first it wasn't clear to me why this potentially bothersome if not invasive requirement would be necessary or useful.  If a property is actually maintained and in compliance with city housing code, then why should the owners have to register?  And if the property is not maintained and compliant, then some neighborhood busybody (I mean, vigilant citizen and neighbor) can report the code violation.  Fortunately, Ward 3 city council member Rizzy Qureshi, and apparent illegal drone enthusiast, inadvertently provided a possible benefit by worrying that a publicly available registry would be “a resource for developers to come in and flip them.”

That's a great idea!  Sure, industrious types can drive around or use online resources to identify underused housing resources, but this proposal would centralize the information in a convenient registry, thus facilitating housing improvements!

It would appear that the Schultz-Stewart cabal is behind this initiative, so if implemented it will probably involve the city in some way paying to fix up people's properties (Then again, the city is subsidizing the first new application of insulation in my home since probably 1947.  Let's be honest, if Takoma Park intends to keep spending money like a drunken sailor on shore leave, then we might as well get in line to claim our fair share.)

Also, the city, unlike the county, appears to allow heavy commercial vehicles to park on residential streets.  Wait, does that make any sense?  Anyway, council member Schultz noted that he has a vehicle that qualifies as a heavy commercial vehicle that he parks on idyllic Wildwood Drive.  Well, that's a darn shame!  Fred should drive that gas-guzzling RV down the street and park it in my unused driveway (I even have a garage, which apparently the previous owners specifically requested, mobility being a higher priority than energy efficiency in 1947.  Then again, that generation defeated imperialistic fascism so I'm inclined to cut them some slack.).  Fred can return the favor by not tipping the city off about the cracked and leaning brick retaining wall adjacent to said driveway (The shady realtor cousin of the estate of the original owner swore that it had been that way for decades with no problems, so that's our story and we're sticking with it.)

Oh, and by the way, my house sat vacant for a year and a half after the death of its original owner, while the heirs tried to figure out what to do, and waited for housing prices to recover after the bubble's collapse, and kind of screwed around for a while before fixing it up just enough to sell.  Perhaps death is the only sure way to escape the pesky demands of a bureaucratic state.


  1. What did you have to do to get the city to help pay for your insulation? I was not aware of that program.

    1. Ignore all of the stuff about neighborhood teams and contests and just click on the link for the energy audit - The city will refund the $100, so the audit is free. Pepco and the city will provide rebates up to 50% for energy efficiency improvements that they and the auditor find to be cost effective.