The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

28 June 2005

Let there be blight

The Downtown Guy asks, reasonably enough:

Do you really want to take away a city's ability to deal with blight?

No. What I do want, though, is a definition of "blight" that can't be stretched out of recognition in an effort to get someone's pet project through. And at the moment, we don't have such a definition in this state.

§24-101 of the Oklahoma City Municipal Code says this:

The exterior of a structure, including fences, shall be maintained in good repair, in sound condition and sanitary so as to pose neither a threat to the public health and safety nor a blighting affect on the surrounding neighborhood.

Assuming they meant "effect", this might serve as a starting point, but it may not be enough by itself.

Addendum, 11:45 am: Michael Bates finds this in the state statutes, which apply "except as otherwise provided":

"Blighted area" shall mean an area in which there are properties, buildings, or improvements, whether occupied or vacant, whether residential or nonresidential, which by reason of dilapidation, deterioration, age or obsolescence, inadequate provision for ventilation, light, air, sanitation or open spaces; population overcrowding; improper subdivision or obsolete platting of land, inadequate parcel size; arrested economic development; improper street layout in terms of existing or projected traffic needs, traffic congestion or lack of parking or terminal facilities needed for existing or proposed land uses in the area, predominance of defective or inadequate street layouts; faulty lot layout in relation to size, adequacy, accessibility or usefulness; insanitary or unsafe conditions, deterioration of site or other improvements; diversity of ownership, tax or special assessment delinquency exceeding the fair value of the land; defective or unusual conditions of title; any one or combination of such conditions which substantially impair or arrest the sound growth of municipalities, or constitutes an economic or social liability, or which endangers life or property by fire or other causes, or is conducive to ill health, transmission of disease, mortality, juvenile delinquency, or crime and by reason thereof, is detrimental to the public health, safety, morals or welfare[.]

The proper response to "inadequate parcel size," of course, is "Did you not accept this plat in the first place? Why is it suddenly 'obsolete'?"

This is way too broad to suit me; I could probably find dozens of properties meeting this description in Nichols Hills. ("Improper street layout" is a potential killer, given the general increase in traffic.)

Posted at 10:20 AM to Political Science Fiction