MCNO has one property on the agenda – 227 S. Olympia. We strongly OPPOSE this request by the city to tear down a significantly contributing, structurally sound building and ask the committee to DENY it.
We are shocked to find this property on the city’s Public Nuisance DEMO list. It has had numerous code judgments against it, and we were told by the city attorney last spring that the property was scheduled for Sheriff’s Sale.
We have been patiently waiting but although the property remains on the Sheriff’s Sale list it has never actually been offered for sale at a Sheriff’s Auction. In May the property owners took out a renovation permit (probably to avoid Sheriff’s Sale) but they have not had any inspections and have certainly not remediated the blight.
Now, the city wants to tear it down as a public nuisance, which is exactly what these negligent, absentee property owners want. The property is still structurally sound and could easily be rehabilitated. Had it gone to Sheriff’s Sale, numerous people would have bid on it.
When deciding on this property, please consider the following:
- The owner, Estelle Bates, and her family own three properties in Orleans Parish. These are 227 S. Olympia, 220 Tacoma St, and 316 Crystal St. Their taxes are delinquent on all three properties for a total of more than $10,000.
- For 227 S. Olympia, they somehow got the tax assessment on the structure reduced to zero and have paid NO “improvement” taxes for the past few years (see below, they paid no taxes on the improvement in 2009, either). They are currently delinquent on their 2011 taxes in the underassessed amount of $1094, although they appear in the system to have paid the code enforcement lein (see below).
- The second property, 220 TACOMA ST, also has delinquent taxes and code enforcement liens of $5394 (see below). It is located in Lakeview.
- The third property, which is the residence of record for Estelle Bates, the primary owner, is 316 Crystal Street. This W. Lakeview property also has delinquent taxes for 2011 of $4315.
- MCNO successfully fought the request to tear down the property in 2008. The owners publicly stated that they wanted four rental units back, which they could not have because they waited too long to start renovations and lost their nonconforming use. As a result, they have been sitting on the property, waiting for it to fall down or for the city to tear it down using public funds so they could build 4 new rental units. They have been asked to consider selling but made the price so unreasonable ($600,000) that no one would actually make an offer.
- We do not know how the property came off the Sheriff’s Sale list, just as we do not know how they connived their way into paying no improvement assessment. What we do know from the record is that they are unethical, dishonest, and undeserving of any breaks from the city.
Please, do NOT reward these property owners by approving this demolition request. We do not know why the city would waste precious FEMA dollars on tearing down a property that could instead be contributing to the city’s tax rolls, but we hope that the NCDC committee agrees with MCNO and tells the city NO!
Code enforcement should instead route the property back to Sheriff’s Sale unless the property owner remediates it immediately. I was told that paying fines was no longer enough and that property owners had to renovate to avoid Sheriff’s Sale. We have already followed up with Code Enforcement to see why it has sat for 6 months, instead.