HISTORIC SHERWOOD FOREST

 

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STRATEGIC ACTION PLAN FOR UNOCCUPIED HOMES

IN SHERWOOD FOREST

 

A PLAN TO PROTECT VACANT PROPERTIES

  1. Maintain a continuously updated database of unoccupied homes.
  1. Determine the name of the owner of the property for inclusion in the database.  Use websites, title searches, local realtors and neighbors to obtain and verify this information.
  1. When a home is represented by a realtor, determine the name of the realtor for inclusion in the database. 
  1. Build relationships with city and county official who can help us. 
  1. Department of Buildings and Safety Engineering:  Amru Meah, Director; Michael Taylor and Steven Leggat, Chiefs of Enforcement. 

  2. Department of Administrative Hearings. 
  3. Wayne County Nuisance Abatement Program: Michael Russell, Director. For investigation of blighted properties.  Under this program, a court awards title to Wayne County as last resort if owner does not maintain property. 
  4. Community Relations officers at Western District Police Precinct. 
  1. Engage contractors to mow lawns, rake leaves, shovel snow and clean up around vacant properties. 
  1. We  recently applied for a grant from Community Legal Resources, Community and Property Preservation Program (CAPPP) to pay for these services, but did not get it.  We should continue to explore grant opportunities.
  2. In the meantime, we must authorize expenditure from Sherwood Forest Association (SFA) budget or seek neighborhood volunteers.
  3. Designate a resident to secure, oversee and pay contractors.                      
  1. Keep homes secure and up to code.  If  absent owners and/or realtors have been contacted but are refusing to care for  properties, we should:
  1. Report properties to B&SE to investigate for building code violations and to issue correction orders and tickets.  Where homes are open to trespass, contact Susan McBride of Detroit Historic District Commission.  She will contact B&SE directly to have these homes boarded up.  A lien will be placed on the property for the cost of boarding up. A resident must be designated to track status of such complaints. 
  2. Report uncut grass and other environmental problems to Western District Community Relations officers for ticketing.  Again, someone must track status of complaints.
  3. Report homes that are open and dangerous to the Wayne County Nuisance Abatement Program for investigation and possible seizure.  Track status of complaints.
  4. Consider boarding up or replacing windows or installing locks at neighborhood expense.  Form a small “fix up” team consisting of neighborhood volunteers.
  1. Develop a system of home monitors and designate one person to act as chief monitor.
  1. A home monitor is a neighbor who is assigned a vacant home near his or her own home.  He or she agrees to be the person who cuts and rakes the lawn, shovels the snow, picks up papers and debris and otherwise works to make the house look occupied in the event that we are unable to hire a contractor to do this work.  If a contractor is doing the work, the monitor makes sure that the work is being done in a timely manner.
  2.  The home monitor reports to the chief monitor any changes in the condition of the vacant home.  This includes deterioration, break-ins, thefts and reoccupations (both legal and illegal).
  3. The home monitor reports to the chief monitor any new vacancies that occur on the block.
  4. The chief monitor designs a procedure whereby all residents are encouraged to report to her/him any new vacancies or changes in the status of vacant properties.  
  1. Encourage residents to use our new email address to report on vacant homes, vacanthouse@sherwoodforestdetroit.org.                   

NOTE:   We recognize that many of our residents already have assumed informally the role of home monitor.  We must formalize the process to make sure that every home is covered and that the SFA is getting up-to-date information on the status of our vacant homes.

  1. Use our private patrol service to assist us in monitoring vacant homes.
  1. Make sure the drivers have a current list of vacant homes and give priority attention to those homes as they make their rounds.
  2. Ask drivers to report to the police and the chief monitor any suspicious activities at vacant homes and report to the chief monitor any change in status at vacant homes.