Sep 9, 2010 7:57 PM by David Ortiviz
Living next to a burned down house or property that's neglected can be a homeowners worst nightmare. It can be an eyesore and lower your property value. You can't always make your neighbor do something to fix it, but sometimes you can.
Lori Winner is a woman trying to keep Pueblo looking nice. She takes pictures of ugly houses and posts them on a Facebook page she created called Pueblo House of Shame. Each week Winner features a different so-called dumpy property and includes the address. Winner says her goal isn't to embarrass. "(I want to) try to get enough people to complain about that property so that it's corrected," said Winner.
Winner says the first step you can take, call your city's code enforcement office. For example in Pueblo, it's against the law to have tall weeds, trash and junk cars in your yard and graffiti must be promptly painted over. Police say these violations could have an impact on health and safety. "You know the quality of their life really goes down," said Capt. Troy Davenport, with the Pueblo Police Department. "So I think that's the aim of those ordinances," he added.
But what if you live next to a house that was burned in a fire and has been abandoned? "Generally we try to just board them up first, if that doesn't work then they could possibly fall into the condemnation program.," said J.D. Potter, Assistant Building Official for Pueblo Regional Building Department.
Potter says houses that are "structurally" unsafe can be condemned, meaning they have to be demolished by the owner or the city. Over the past decade, the Pueblo building department has condemned 77 houses--of those, 34 were demolished by the City of Pueblo; 21 were demolished by the owners; 10 were repaired by the owners; and 12 are scheduled to be knocked down.
Potter says the condemnation process however, can be lengthy. "If everything goes perfect and there's no hiccups at all it takes over 6 months," said Potter.
Winner says it's important for homeowners to do what's necessary, to protect your own investment. "People that love Pueblo and love their neighborhood and want to keep their neighborhood beautiful and they want to keep their property values high need to take action," said Winner.
Winner says she's been featuring ugly houses on her Facebook page for five weeks now and already some of those tall weeds have been cut.
Pueblo Regional Building Department
Pueblo Police Department's technician unit/(code enforcement)
Pueblo Graffiti Hotline