VP: Denby Park to be initial target of “Project Focus”

The Virginian-Pilot reports that the Norfolk City Council had its annual retreat in Smithfield today and one of the things they addressed was the increase in crime in the City.  Specifically they mentioned increasing efforts in Denby Park in the Wards Corner area, the Pleasant Avenue area of East Ocean View and Huntersville initially.  Later this year efforts will expand to 10 other troubled neighborhoods, including Park Place and Fairmount Park.

The tools that the City intends to use are increased police patrols, code enforcement sweeps to clean up blighted property, and the rental inspection program that the Partnership has already been briefed on:

The interior of most rental units in the three neighborhoods would be inspected for code violations. If a unit passed, it would not be inspected again for four years.

Landlords also would be required to register a name, address and phone number with the city. 

Norfolk also would initiate landlord-city neighborhood improvement agreements. Landlords would be encouraged to do criminal background checks on tenants and to ban illegal behavior, such as drug dealing. In return, the city would provide enhanced services, such as improved lighting and sidewalks.

Surveillance cameras also would likely be used along several blocks of the three neighborhoods, although details haven’t been finalized.

Notably, the Council did decide to follow through and turn Denby Park, Oakdale Farms, and Monticello Village into a conservation area:

The council also directed Williams to begin the process of turning three Wards Corner neighborhoods into conservation areas, which is required for the city’s housing authority to be able to offer loans to rehabilitate housing.

Denby Park, Oakdale Farms and Monticello Village “were promised this,” Councilwoman Theresa Whibley said. “We need to keep that promise.”

Although not entirely clear or explained, it appears the increased patrols and code enforcement will only last a year:

“We believe we have to focus an intensive effort for a year to get these neighborhoods empowered,” Williams said.

Let’s hope that a year is all that it takes to empower those neighborhoods and let’s hope that there is a “bold move” around the corner.

One Response to VP: Denby Park to be initial target of “Project Focus”

  1. The Wards Corner Advocate says:

    Here is another bold move for the City’s tool box that we still have at their disposal. Why don’t they start to use this one too?

    ARTICLE V. REMOVAL OR REPAIR OF BUILDINGS OR OTHER STRUCTURES HARBORING ILLEGAL DRUG ACTIVITY

    Sec. 27-58. Definitions.

    As used in this article:

    Affidavit means the affidavit prepared by a locality in accordance with section 27-59 hereof.

    Controlled substance means the same as that term is defined in section 54.1-3401 of the Code of Virginia.

    Corrective action means the taking of steps which are reasonably expected to be effective to abate drug blight on real property, such as removal, repair or securing of any building, wall or other structure.

    Drug blight means a condition existing on real property which tends to endanger the public health or safety of residents of the city and is caused by the regular presence on the property of persons under the influence of controlled substances or the regular use of the property for the purpose of illegally possessing, manufacturing or distributing controlled substances.

    Owner means the record owner of real property.

    Property means real property.

    (Ord. No. 38,858, § 1, 7-22-97)

    Sec. 27-59. Affidavit and notice requirements.

    In addition to enforcement procedures established elsewhere, the city manager or his designee is authorized to undertake corrective action with respect to drug blight on real property in accordance with the procedures described herein.

    (a) The city manager or his designee shall execute an affidavit, citing section 15.2-907 of the Code of Virginia, and this article, and affirming that drug blight exists on certain property in the manner described therein; that the city has used due diligence without effect to abate the drug blight; and that the drug blight constitutes a present threat to the public’s health, safety or welfare.

    (b) The city manger or his designee shall submit the affidavit to the city attorney requesting that the last known owner of the property be notified by regular mail sent to the last known address as it appears in the assessment records of the city. The notice and a copy of the affidavit shall advise the owner that the owner has up to thirty (30) days from the date thereof to undertake corrective action to abate the drug blight described in the affidavit and, that if requested to do so, the city will assist theowner in determining and coordinating the appropriate corrective action to abate the drug blight described in the affidavit.

    (Ord. No. 38,855 § 1, 7-22-97; Ord. No. 39,610, § 3, 6-8-99)

    Sec. 27-60. Failure to take corrective action.

    If no corrective action is undertaken by the owner of the property within thirty (30) days from receipt of notice from the city as provided for in section 27-59, the city attorney shall send by regular mail an additional notice to the owner of the property, at the address stated in the assessment records of the city. This final notice shall state that within fifteen (15) days from the mailing of the notice, the city will commence to abate the drug blight taking any corrective action the city deems appropriate to include, but not limited to, the removal of the building or other structure so as to abate the drug blight on the property. Upon receipt of this final notice, the owner shall have the right, upon reasonable notice to the city, to seek equitable relief, and the city shall initiate no corrective action while a proper petition is pending before a court of competent jurisdiction.

    (Ord. No. 38,855 § 1, 7-22-97; Ord. No. 38,887, § 1, 8-26-97; Ord. No. 39,610, § 4, 6-8-99)

    Sec. 27-61. Assessment of costs.

    If the city undertakes the corrective action with respect to the property after complying with the notice provisions found herein, the costs and expenses thereof shall be chargeable to and paid by the owner of such property and may be collected by the city in the same manner as taxes and levies are collected. Every charge authorized by this section with which the owner of any such property has been assessed and which remains unpaid shall constitute a lien against such property with the same priority as liens for unpaid local real estate taxes and enforceable in the same manner as provided in articles 3 (section 58.1-3940 et seq.) and 4 (section 58.1-3965 et seq.) of chapter 39, title 58.1 of the state code.

    (Ord. No. 38,858, § 1, 7-22-97)

    Sec. 27-62. Corrective action by owner.

    If the owner of such property takes timely corrective action pursuant to this article, the city shall deem the drug blight abated and shall close the proceeding without any charge or costs to the owner and shall promptly provide written notice to the owner that the proceeding has been terminated satisfactorily. The closing of a proceeding shall not bar the city from initiating a subsequent proceeding if the drug blight recurs.

    (Ord. No. 38,855 § 1, 7-22-97; Ord. No. 39,610, § 5, 6-8-99)

    Sec. 27-63. Abridgement of rights.

    Nothing in this section shall be construed to abridge or waive any rights or remedies of an owner of property at law or in equity.

    (Ord. No. 38,858, § 1, 7-22-97)

    Sec. 27-64. Severability.

    If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase or portion of this article is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional by the decision of any court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this article. The city council declares that it would have adopted each section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase or portion thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more sections, subsections, clauses, phrases or portions be declared invalid or unconstitutional.

    (Ord. No. 38,858, § 1, 7-22-97)

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