City Killing Business?
POSTED: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 - 5:46pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 16, 2010 - 2:53pm
EL PASO, TX - Vacant buildings and boarded up windows in El Paso could soon be fixed. The city is working on passing an ordinance to get property owners to clean-up their act or face fines. The proposed ordinance was introduced by city officials Wednesday afternoon, but some property owners say it's going to kill business in the city.
"I think everybody has a responsibility to make our community look as good as possible, and the best way to do that is to keep these buildings occupied, not by having government get involved by fining and creating problems for people who are trying to develop their buildings," Tanny Berg said.
Under the proposal vacant buildings would be required to have brand new glass instead of boards, and property owners would need to have insurance and maintain fire suppression systems. Property owners say to add to the cost there's also a registration fee, and with the rough economy money is especially tight.
"It was funny how callously they threw out the number $550 dollars like it didn't matter. $550 dollars may mean the difference from somebody being able to hold onto the building or not," Berg said.
The city is pushing the ordinance to make El Paso better looking, but the Fire Chief is also backing the proposal.
"Vacant buildings are a problem for public safety, whether it be fire or police, a lot of these buildings are ones that require more frequent responses," Otto Droze said.
Although there were people against the ordinance, city leaders say people just need to read it.
"I think that they probably need to look at the ordinance more clearly, look at what our intent is. I provided copies of the draft ordinance this afternoon, they may not have had a chance to review the entire contents and what were looking at," Victor Torres said.