Portsmouth City Council met on July 11, 2022, to consider three agenda items. About 75 minutes into the meeting, Portsmouth City Code Officer Andy Gedeon was at the microphone offering a plan to deal with the city’s condemned housing problem.
Although still in the planning stage, Gedeon offered a plan where property owners have an opportunity to bring properties up to code within a given amount of time provided that the owner is indeed working toward the goal.
“I’ve lost count of the number of condemned houses in the city, “Gedeon explained. “The number is more than 100 and closer to 200.” The plan would include errant property owners meeting with a nuisance board.
Gedeon expressed that is desirable that the owner takes responsibility for their property because the cost to tear down a condemned property is great. When pressed by members of the council for the exact cost, Gedeon explained that it can vary greatly depending on the size of the structure, the material used, and the amount of trash left in the building. A “ballpark” figure of $7500 per house was thrown out, but that number is not one that should be taken literally for all properties.
Gedeon talked about the resources taken from the police department in dealing with the troubled properties. He talked about needing officers to respond several times to assist him while either condemning a property or dealing with squatters in currently condemned homes.
As the discussion continued, Sean Dunne brought up some of the issues facing the city in terms of property. “People ask what would happen to their investment, “Dunne stated relating the dilemma that people who plan to build in Portsmouth face.
The next meeting is on July 25th.