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Horse’s Ass Award (Reader Nomination)

by Prince Of Petworth May 25, 2010 at 10:21 pm 39 Comments

A reader wrote in suggesting this property in Eckington be nominated for this week’s horse’s ass award. The work this reader put together is incredible. He compiled all of his research in PDF format here:  329 Rhode Island Ave NE

The reader writes:

“My Eckington neighbors and I have been battling the owner of 329 Rhode Island Ave NE (a 6 story boarded up building that has stood vacant for 12+ years). It’s been on a “watchlist” since 2000 (http://www.dcwatch. com/mayor/ 000314.htm). Last year, it magically caught fire a day after it was placed on the tax sale list, and burned for 3 days since the firecrews couldn’t extinguish the tar roof. You also featured video of the blaze on your website… And now the building owner has collected his insurance money, but the building still languishes and the owner gets even more exemptions from vacant and blighted property taxes.

DCRA has been unwavering in their dedication to giving exemption after exemption to the building owner, since he always says he’s trying to renovate it, or sell it. However no work is ever done on the building, and there certainly isn’t any MLS listing the building as “for sale.”

Continues after the jump.

Upon our most recent request to DCRA to take action against the negligent building owner, DCRA Director Linda Argo said the building would not be deemed as “blighted” because it in no way threatens the livelihood or safety of our neighborhood.

My neighbors and I have had it. I put together the attached presentation documenting:

* The criteria published on DCRA’s website to have a building deemed “Blighted”
* Pictures documenting all of the criteria of “blighted” exhibited by 329 RI Ave NE
* DCRA Director Linda Argo’s email, saying that the building would not be labeled “blighted”
* and then further proof from arrest reports, pictures of loitering, etc that counter Director Argo’s claim that the vacant boarded up and blighted building doesn’t affect the livelihood or safety of our neighborhood.

I’ve also put together the attached petition (signed by 80+ neighbors within a 1-2 block radius), that I gave to the Mayor to urge him to get DCRA to classify the building as “blighted” and we’re winning our fight (so far). As a matter of a fact, the building owner has requested a hearing for this Thursday, to request further exemptions but my neighbors and I will be there to give community feedback, and hopefully DCRA will cooperate and levy vacant and blighted building taxes against the owner, so the building may be properly re-habbed and occupied!

The hearing is Thursday morning, and we’ve collected historical info via the Freedom of Information Act, about all of the exemptions granted to the building owner, etc… It should be interesting!

Thanks for your help and for publishing to bring attention to DCRA’s lack of enthusiasm to rid DC of vacant buildings! As a reader resource, if you want to link to DCRA’s website, providing the resource how readers may alert DCRA of other vacant properties in their own neighborhoods, the info is here: http://www.dcra.dc.gov/dcra/cwp/view,a,1343,q,625194.asp or they can send an email to: v[email protected]

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