Vacant Building

Photo courtesy of Metro Creative

In response to a slew of complaints about Deer Ridge Golf Club’s appearance since its closure in 2019, city officials intend to implement new regulations governing the maintenance of vacant buildings and sites.

The new rules, slated for adoption at the July 14 city council meeting, are meant to reduce blight.

“Unkempt, unsightly, improperly maintained buildings and sites can be a major detriment to the community,” Community Development Director Casey McCann said. “The intent of this ordinance amendment is to improve the community’s overall quality of life by strengthening the city’s regulations.”

Some of the anticipated stipulations directed at vacant buildings approved for human occupancy will stipulate how long such structures can be vacant without being properly secured and maintained; amend the buildings’ appearance; govern how such establishments are protected; and mandate the posting of property management’s contact information on-site.

The council called for changes earlier this year after resident complaints poured in regarding the now-closed golf club’s appearance, including unsightly boarding materials used to secure the exterior doors and windows of the former clubhouse and the orange plastic K-rails that close off entry points.

The city’s current ordinances lacked the regulations to address such issues, McCann said.

“While the closure of the Deer Ridge Golf Course and its boarded-up clubhouse spurred the initial agenda item I requested in January, it was meant to address all blighted buildings throughout the town,” Councilmember Karen Rarey said.

Deer Ridge officials did not return requests for comment as of press time, but said in a letter sent to the city in January that golf club leaders were trying to address blight complaints.

“(Deer Ridge Golf Club) does not have funds to fence off the entire property at this time,” wrote Roberto Brutocao, a representative of Deer Ridge Golf Club. “However, it implemented a number of prudent measures to address public safety and help minimize blight, as well as to help secure the property from vandalism, vagrancy and assorted criminal activity and other considerations. In particular, DRG installed visible barriers across key entry points. Signs warning of danger and reminding the public that the property is private and there should be no trespassing were also installed, although a number have been damaged or defaced.”

The city’s amended regulations are expected to dictate that buildings cannot be vacant for more than 30 days without being properly maintained and secured, unless they are actively undergoing repair or are up for sale, lease or rent.

Other expected stipulations will home in on vacant buildings on residential-zoned sites or adjoining another residential-zoned property, requiring that those select properties use clear or semi-clear shatterproof polycarbonate sheeting as board-up material. Additionally, certain kinds of temporary fencing or barriers will be prohibited, including concrete, plastic and K-rail or Jersey varieties. Chain-link or similar metal fencing will also be disallowed.

A number of other new rules are expected to roll in for citywide vacant buildings and properties, including that no more than 20% of a vacant building’s exterior painted surface can be peeling or lacking weather protection; exterior trash and debris must be removed from vacant property at least weekly; the building must be adequately protected from the weather; and at least one sign with contact info for the property owner or management company must be posted.

City officials said they expect the new regulations to be formally adopted at the July 14 council meeting and take effect a month later.

It’s expected that the city’s current community enrichment staff could begin enforcing the regulations in mid-August, with violators who don’t voluntarily comply possibly fined $100 for a first violation, $200 for failing to comply with that notice and $500 for failing to comply with the second and all subsequent violation notices that could be issued weekly.

“The intent is to look for blighted properties,” Brentwood City Manager Tim Ogden said. “That is going to be the focus — not looking for every petty little thing throughout the community. It’s to address the major blighted issues throughout the community.”

If adopted, the regulations are expected to include some special provisions for vacant buildings on nonresidential-zoned sites or that do not adjoin another residential-zoned property. In those areas, traditional boarding materials maybe used, provided they are painted a color consistent with the exterior’s primary color.

For complete regulations, visit packet on page 832 at https://bit.ly/3gg6Cpt.

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