Distressed properties prompt appeal for action
Fort Lauderdale residents of District IV and city officials recently met to find a solution to the large number of foreclosed and dilapidated properties sprinkled among city neighborhoods.
“A lot of [city staff] have been working on the foreclosure issue for a long time,” said District IV Commissioner Romney Rogers. “It’s been on the Commission’s agenda at least twice.
“We’ve identified over 1,000 abandoned properties citywide,” said Fort Lauderdale Police Detective Jorge Maura, offering insight into why so many citizen complaints have gotten few results.
Maura suggested that a “new municipal ordinance is needed to create a time frame. The owner will have so many days to bring the property into compliance, or we’ll take legal action.”
Creation of a fresh ordinance is an effort that “has a lot of moving parts,” Rogers noted. The first step, he said, is putting together an inventory of abandoned properties and “code enforcement will begin the process of gathering data.”
Then it needs to be determined who owns the distressed properties – a person, bank or investment group – and that isn’t necessarily a simple matter.
“We can have a bunch of wonderful meetings,” said Marilyn Mammano, president of the Harbordale Homeowners Association and acting head of the Council of Fort Lauderdale Civic Associations. “Let’s talk about citizens’ involvement.” She also recommended creating a task force to help the situation.
While everyone awaits the next step, Doyle said, “nothing much can come of this unless somebody – like a city commissioner – makes sure it doesn’t get the bureaucratic runaround. That can only happen if citizens act as watchdogs.