Neighbors want city action on abandon houses - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Neighbors want city action on abandon houses

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By: Jenn Schanz

Larry Evermann has lived near the corner of 13th and Lake for years.

He takes care of his home, and says he has great pride in living in Lincoln's Irvingdale neighborhood.

What he isn't so happy about is the negative effect forgotten homes like have on his community.

"It's a domino effect and it has that kind of an impact on the surrounding neighbors. It's a negative impact on the surrounding neighbors in that when a house is neglected on the block, other neighbors also believe oh why should I bother to work on my property, look at this house down the block," he says.

Larry also says he's made several complaints to the city to deal with the problem, but hasn't seen any action.

According to officials at Building and Safety, they're currently in litigation with the owner of the home at 13th and Lake over another property and that prosecution is pending.

The problem is that for issues other than structure, Building and Safety can't do much.

"It depends on what the issue is. If the issue is overgrowth or voluntary trees, currently our ordinance does not address overgrowth and voluntary trees," says John Boies, Chief Housing Inspector with Building and Safety.

For weeds and overgrowth, you'd need to call Weed Control. They say it can take up to four notices before they'll send someone out to trim the yard of a vacant home.

Barbara Arendt, who has lived across the street from a vacant home for 12 years, says there's too many holes to jump through to deal with the problem.

"I think it needs to begin with the record keeping process....there should be a point of contact for each of these homes, they should be registered, the city should know, the city should know who they're dealing with, so they can act quicker on it," she says.

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