The Gainesville City Council recently adopted several amendments during their second reading regarding structures that are deemed to be "dangerous to public health." The amendments were recommended by the city attorney and make important changes to the city's existing ordinance.
Although one of the amendments allows the city to use revenues, grants and donations within the city budget to demolish existing buildings that are considered to be "unfit," the City Manager stated that the city is also interested in working with the owners of some buildings in question. The City Manager said that building owners who have been found to be failing to maintain certain structures may be able to come to a mutual remedy with the city to avoid demolition of the buildings. However, the official proclaimed that the city will have to see how the condition of the properties have progressed. He also said that the first step that the city wants to take is to work with the property owners to improve the "community's health, wealth, safety and welfare."
Changes in the ordinance also provide for injunctions. Property owners may be able to contest a public officer making repairs, closing or demolishing unfit buildings. However, this amendment does not change the existing law that allows the government to take unfit properties by eminent domain.
When dangerous conditions are found to exist on a property and someone is subsequently injured, the victim may be able to recover monetary compensation for the injuries that he or she sustained. An Atlanta, Georgia, premises liability lawyer may be able to help the victim recover for losses including medical expenses, lost income, lost future income, and pain and suffering.
Source: North Georgia News, "Gainesville looks for better policy on dangerous structures," Jerry Gunn, March 9, 2013