By Victor Lopez
ODESSA – The Odessa City Council is getting ready to give the green light for seven abandoned buildings in town to get hit with the wrecking ball. The eyesores are set to be demolished for violation of the Dangerous Buildings Ordinance.
According to Demolition Inspector Vashati Curry, "This is a way to keep our city looking nice and looking good and making our community better."
The City of Odessa adopted the Dangerous Buildings Ordinance in 2004. According to Code Enforcement Officer Darlene Mays, getting the buildings torn down is a matter of safety.
"They are unsafe structures and dangerous buildings. We have an ordinance against dilapidated, open and unsafe structures in the city limits of Odessa," Mays explained.
Even though they're abandoned and run down, these buildings offer shelter to the homeless and a place for illegal activities, yet another reason to want them gone.
"People are looking for a location where they can go and stay out of the bad weather. With all the rain we've had and the times when we've had the snow and the cold weather, you're going to find the homeless and transients and other people go into those buildings," Mays said.
Before a building can be set for demolition, it has to meet the requirements of the city ordinance. In other words, it must be completely uninhabitable and pose and immediate threat of danger to residents in the area.
"Some may have the flooring falling in or the ceiling falling in or the roof falling in, strictly unsafe," Mays said.
According to Vashati Curry, property owners are given every opportunity to salvage their property, "We'll send out letters giving the property owner notice what the order is, if it's for removal. We wait and there is an appeal process."
The entire process of demolition can take from a few months to a year, and special care must be given if the building tests positive for asbestos.
"We have regulations that are given by the state and we have to follow those," Mays said.
City officials say it's everyone's responsibility to report any building they think is unfit. Just make the call and they'll take it from there.