To further compound this deterioration, the county tax collector notes that this situation has resulted in a further decline in property values in the affected neighborhoods. As a result, a decline in related tax assessments and revenues for the county is significant. To stop the bleeding, the county has decided to tear down these structures! The rationale is that this is a cheaper alternative to the continued deterioration of the neighborhood and subsequent loss in property tax revenues. This drastic approach has led to the creation of numerous vacant lots adjacent to homes that are currently owned and maintained by families that are, in many cases, struggling to keep their homes.
It was upsetting to hear that this was happening and maddening that the banks selfishly felt compelled to only look at their bottom line and let someone else, namely the adjacent homeowners and the county tax collector, deal with the mess that they created in the first place. I know that if this was happening in my neighborhood, suburban or not, I would be wondering where is the justice in all of this? I know my neighbors, and I would not take kindly to this callousness. How would you feel if the families next to you were kicked out, and their houses were torn down?
Perhaps you might see this situation as simply an opportunity to implement new land use or planning policy…I think it’s a much larger issue. Where is the humanity in all of this? As a society, are we going to let communities unravel at the expense of corporate bottom lines? Sometime ago George Carlin, comedian, quipped… “The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe it.” For many, it’s ironic how true this is, and how it’s become a real nightmare!!
Your comments are welcomed.
Tony Battaglia, Architect & Planner