The city of Erie is moving forward with its fight against blight with a proposed plan for ticketing.
Currently, when there’s a housing code violation that does not get voluntarily resolved by the property owner, the process can take months to get results or penalize someone. Those delays only allow more time for blight to fester and spread.
Erie Resident Eddie Pacley says, “I’m hoping the city council can do something to ticket places like this here to clean up their properties.”
When it comes to blight, the city of Erie’s Department of Code Enforcement attempts to contact homeowners and allow them time to correct the offense. If not resolved in the allotted time, a notice of violation, which is an order to correct, is issued.
It then goes to court, a process out of the control of the city, which can be time-consuming.
John Villa, of Snoop’s Neighborhood Watch, says, “It’s going to keep the city cleaner. It’s going to make it get cleaner faster. Now, the process… it just takes months.”
So, city officials are ironing out the details of its proposed quality of life ticketing program. They say many of the complaints from residents involve blight, such as overgrown grass and litter. If approved, the ordinance could quicken the process of citing homeowners and make it as simple as issuing a parking ticket.
Chief Zoning Officer of Erie, Jake Welsh, says, “Any tool that can help to expedite that blight mitigation is going to help the city.”
And someone who knows firsthand about the impact of blight in a neighborhood is Eddie Pacley, a resident of Cochran Street. “With property like this, here, it brings the property down and makes the whole block look ghetto.”
Pacley reached out to us for help when he says he could no longer cut his neighbor’s grass. After that, the property owner took action. “The property next door is a lot better than it was, but more needs to be done.”
Officials say more might be able to be done and more quickly if the quality of life ticketing program is approved. It still has to go before City Council for a vote and, before that, there will be a study session on August 9th.