RENEW’s fourth meeting, held at the CC Jackson Recreation Center 4910 Park Heights Ave, Baltimore, MD 21215 on September 21, 2016 from 6pm – 8pm was very well attended.
The meeting featured a Self-Help Nuisance Abatement Workshop lead by Shana Roth-Gormley, staff attorney at the Community Law Center. Ms. Roth-Gormley’s PowerPoint presentation described what legally constitutes a nuisance and what specific action steps residents can take to eliminate the nuisance. She also reviewed a vacant property letter worksheet and gave an example of what to include in a letter to the property owner. She provided links to resources that are available to identify who the owner is. Meeting notes are provided here.
This was followed with a presentation and question-and-answer session by two officials from Baltimore Housing: Julia Day and Jason Hessler.
Ms. Day is the Deputy Commissioner of Baltimore Housing for the Land Resources Division. She manages the staff responsible for acquisition, asset management, and disposition of city owned properties. She is a key member of the leadership team of Vacants to Value
Mr. Hessler is the Assistant Commissioner for Litigation in the Permits and Code Enforcement Section. He oversees the staff attorneys who are assigned to each of the Housing Inspection Districts. The boundaries of those nine area offices are coterminous with the nine planning districts in Baltimore City.
Residents had many questions. They also respectfully expressed frustration with using the 311 system for reporting problems or getting in touch with Housing Inspectors to follow up on complaints. Additional concerns were knowing who to contact for various issues and the lack of follow-up on 311 requests concerning contractors that are not demolishing sites according to City guidelines.
Though many City employees and residents are working hard to improve the city significant problems continue to plague many neighborhoods. Hopefully, by residents using RENEW to speak with one voice on issues that are of concern to us all we will be able to get the CIty to implement changes so we can see the results that we all desire.