City unveils plan to improve housing market - WNEM TV 5

City unveils plan to improve housing market

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

Bay City leaders are looking to crack down on homeowners to keep their homes from falling into disrepair.

City officials said the city has too many houses and too many run down houses. On Monday they unveiled plans to hold owners and occupants accountable.

The plan, aimed at improving the housing market, was in the works for more than six months and is expected to take 15 to 20 years to complete. It comes on the heels of a study released back in August showing a surplus of run down homes in the city.

"It showed us a lot of green, which are good ones. A lot of yellow, which is not too bad, right next to the green. And then you get some orange and then the red. The red are the real problem areas," City Manager Rick Finn said.

Finn said the new plan is aimed at eliminating blight and increasing home values. He said the plan will be implemented over the course of the next 15 to 20 years.

"Make the green areas strong, move into the yellow areas so we can make them green through infrastructure improvements and other things - code enforcement and so forth. So as we do that we'll go into the orange areas and ultimately after the 15 years the red areas by themselves will self correct," Finn said.

That plan calls for increased fines for unregistered rental properties within city limits. It will also create a crime free housing program where new residents would have to sign an agreement saying if they are convicted of a crime they could be evicted. The city would also step up monitoring in neighborhoods and increase code enforcement, something of concern to one resident.

"The senior citizens that own homes and live in their homes and are on fixed incomes and can't afford to have the maintenance on the homes," one resident said.

Finn said there is help available for residents in financial need.

The Bay City Department of Public Safety said they approve of the plan because to them less blight equals less crime.

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