The next time you come across a burned-out house in danger of collapse, take a moment to think about Kanawha County.
The Kanawha County Commission recently approved a $1 million demolition program to remove up to 114 uninhabitable structures, thanks in large part to the West Virginia Housing Development Fund’s Property Rescue Initiative.
Kanawha County currently allocates 100 percent of its building permit fees to demolish dilapidated structures. In order to ramp up its efforts and make this pool of funding go further, the county leveraged its demolition fund to apply for an interest-free loan through the Property Rescue Initiative.
The Property Rescue Initiative is a program available to municipalities that want to rid their communities of blighted and dangerous properties. The program provides cities and counties with financing to acquire, demolish, or deconstruct residential and mixed-use buildings that constitute a health and safety hazard.
The West Virginia Housing Development Fund recognizes that communities across West Virginia have varying levels of capacity and resources to dedicate to dilapidated buildings — and that a loan to remove uninhabitable structures may be an unattainable first step.
As a result, it created a technical assistance program — free of charge — for municipalities and counties seeking to implement or expand a dilapidated building mitigation program, including guidance on financing the removal of unsafe structures.
In collaboration with the Housing Development Fund, the West Virginia Community Development Hub, the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center (NBAC), and the Land Use & Sustainable Development Law Clinic provide technical assistance that is responsive to a community’s specific needs and may include:
- Mobilizing community members
- Identifying and inventorying problem properties
- Developing community vision
- Creating redevelopment plan
- Legal review of ordinances and codes
- Title opinions
- And more!
Kanawha County has a sustainable dilapidated building mitigation program with a three-person planning department, solid enforcement, and a robust pool of demolition funding.
Because of its capacity and resources, the county is able to go after more complex sources of financing to tackle its problem properties.
The Hub, NBAC, and the Law Clinic aim to build other communities up to this level of capacity and resources, and assist with the development and expansion of sustainable dilapidated building mitigation programs across the state, through the Property Rescue Initiative technical assistance and the upcoming BAD Buildings Summit.
The BAD Buildings Summit, which will be held Tuesday, November 14, 2017, in Morgantown, is a statewide event that will provide trainings to address vacant and dilapidated properties and will identify systemic challenges that block efforts to tackle these properties.
Registration information will be available in early summer. Until then, please mark November 14 on your calendar!
If you’re interested in learning more about the Property Rescue Initiative technical assistance or the BAD Buildings Summit, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-533-0788.