04/08/2021

SWP Housing Committee

Southwest Partnership

March 11, 2021

Minutes:Haley Wittstadt

Attendees:

  1. Tony Scott– staff
  2. Carrie Baniszewski– staff
  3. Haley Wittstadt-staff
  4. Heather Kangas-chair
  5. Laura Dykes
  6. Cecilia Gonzalez – PROAction
  7.  T Sanders
  8.  Jonathan Sussman
  9.  Scott Kashnow
  10.  Nate Tarter
  11.  Sonia Eaddy
  12.  Pat Hudson
  13.  Jane Mayrer
  14.  Lou Packett
  15.  Diana Geis
  16.  Nancy McCormick
  17.  Edith Gillard
  18.  Dotie Page
  19.  Leila Kohler-Frueh – Habitat for Humanity
  20.  Jason Hessler- DHCD
  21. Shea Beitler – DHCD
  22.  Marianne Navarro
  23.  Patricia Hogan
  24.  Derrick McCorvey II
  25.  Andrea Franchini – Rebuilding Together Baltimore
  26.  Christian Hall – Rebuilding Together Baltimore
  27.  Kevin Gallaher
  28.  CeCe Monet
  29.  Nicole Chavis
  30.  Amber Jones
  31.  Jon Law
  32. Richard Parker – Board President
  33. Bif Browning
  34. Loriane Arikat
  35. Robert Meyer
  36. D N
  37. David McGill
  38. Dan Bythewood – La Cite

Review of February Minutes –  motion to approve February’s minutes Approved

  • Guest Speaker: Jason Hessler, Deputy Commissioner DHCD to discuss Code Enforcement and Vacant Buildings/Housing Jason & Shea (DHCD)
  • Best route to address concerns is to use 311; this source tracks everything. Housing inspectors do go out to every call. Just because it takes a little while does not mean nothing is being done. Work orders may be being processed. 
  • Receivership- one of the main code enforcer tools. It is a petition in the district court, the property needs to be vacant and unoccupied. Basically it forces the owners and anything with a legal interest in the property to come into court and argue why they do not need a receiver. “Put up or shut up”. Receiver is a third party who prepares the property for auction. Ensures that the bidders meet certain qualifications.
    • Shea-if receivership fails, they are subject to fines and DHCD will refile. 
    • Nate asked if there is a 311 public record of complaints. 
      • Jason- Currently you get the “closed” message. Wants to change the messages to “inspected”, add whether or not a citation was issued, if there was a fine, etc. They are working with IT as of now. OpenBaltimore has a page with all open records. Not too great in detail. 
    • Derrick McCorvey asked how long the receiver has to take action to rehab the property. Laura Dykes asked a similar question about time on receivership (has a home next to her that has been vacant for 5 years).
      • Jason- some never go to receiverships. Limited by the buyer on the other end; becomes a major hurdle.  
    • How to remove squatters, drug dealers, or prostitutes?
      • Jason-Drug nuisance statutes, go to Shea. DHCD has an attorney who specializes in this. You can also contact Shea about vacant buildings with these issues. 

Shea.Beitler-Akman@baltimorecity.gov. Jason.hessler@baltimorecity.gov

  • Can community organizations work with the city? How and how often?
    • Jason- yes, all the time. That is what DHCD wants. As far as speed, it takes time, held back in the legal arena.  
    • Scott Kashnow – How do we make sure housing stays affordable as we create areas of opportunity? 
      • Jason- the issue is on the radar. 
        • Light Program- helps people stay in houses through making homes energy efficient. 
        • Low interest loans and grants. 
        • City has affordable housing trust fund and other programs 
        • South Baltimore land trust
    • More information to come! 
  • Lou Packett- receivership has shortcomings, is there any other alternative that has less shortcomings? Any that can work in conjunction with it?
    • Jason- Condemnation, tax sale foreclosure, donations, etc. If you are trying to guarantee actions and what happens, you want the condemnation act. (issue with authority to condemn, highly vacant block, and money to pay the fair market value and relocation costs).
    • Tax sale only on vacant, if there is debt you can take the title but changes in code two years ago changed the rules. Takes longer because of Circuit Court involvement.  
    • Increase in vacant tax will likely not do much, could scare off investors, seeking to get locals involved. 

Baltimore Code Map (Great Tool)

https://cels.baltimorehousing.org/codemapv2ext/

How long the property has been vacant, who the owner or receiver is, and violations. 

“Legal” link will give you additional information about receivership

Shea.Beitler-Akman@baltimorecity.gov. Jason.hessler@baltimorecity.gov

Southbalitmore Gateway Partnership Grant

Background- Southbalitmore Gateway  is a non-profit that collects profits from casino gambling, gives out grants. Money possible for housing renovation in PigTown.Two properties in PigTown going through receivership that needs subsidies.

Tony-. Application for gap subsidies is due by the end of month, need board approval. Timing issue. Request for approval and recommendation for board to approve, contingent on PigTown. Applying for maximum, $100,000.

Diana:  motion to allow Tony to apply for the $100,000 grant, contingent on citizens of pigtown approval. Seconded by Jonathan and T.

Abstain: 3 (Cecilia Gonzalez, Derrick McCorvey ll, and Patty Hogan)

Motion Passes. 

Old Business (Was not discussed) 

  • Poppleton Plan 
    • Best placement 
  • Poe Homes
  • Homeownership Zones/NHS Partnership/LEDC
  • Tax Sale Program

New Business (Community Updates)

  • La Cite Project
  • Heather- Recent demolition (approved a year before according to Councilman Bullock)
  • Sonia Eaddy
    • Experiencing demolition, 2018ish, post acquisition hearing
    • People in the community started complaining, drug activity, ODs. Request put in for houses to be demolished. Requested for a halt in demolition until transparency in process. No notification of demolition. Recordings were taken. No signage, no fencing, no protection, no knowledge of demolition. 
    • Yogi Lembert, old project manager. Have not heard anything since 2018. Called on Friday, permits pulled, houses were supposed to be demoed in July 2021. City on Monday filed because they wanted it earlier. No possible injunction. 
    • New plan for poppleton plan just in case the developer could move forward. 
  • Cecilia
    • What is the proper process and was it related to La Cite?
    • Sonia- Yes it was related, two blocks were acquired. City was supposed to send out a historian to put it in the National Historic Register. Was supposed to be completed by 2016, did not finish even the first phase due to lack of funding. 
  • Scott Kashnow – Chair of preservation committee
    • Committee meeting discussed recently habitable houses that were to be demolished. Seeking clarification and transparency.
    • Proactive request
      • Wants a letter stating that SWP clarified the position that habitable historic houses should not be torn down. Adding that no one should be put out of their home. Did not vote last time. Ask for clarity; waiting is not working. Four more houses have been torn down.
  • Heather- How to get clarity 
    • Jason- understanding is that LDA was developed and negotiated 10/15+ years ago. Eminent domain was used to acquire properties. 
      • More scheduled to be N Carrollton & N Fairmont
      • 1102-1106 Saratoga remediation(July/Aug 2022).   
      • Properties that came down the other day were delayed and supposed to come down May 2020
      • Slowed demolitions down due to pandemic 
      • All properties on CodeMap (see above for link)
      • Posted 5-10 days prior to demolition 
        • Standard; 3x4ft larger sign and 11x12in on each property 
        • Inspections are done and photos show signs. 
        • Fencing takes place when demo starts
    • Heather- reached out to the project developer and has not heard ANYTHING. Sonia concurs. No communication (going on for 4 years)
  • Shea- Jeff will add concerns about communication to the agenda of DHDC meeting.
  • Kevin Gallaher- Reach out to Kate Edwards for more information. Assistant Commissioner for Development for La Cite’s LDDA. Kate.Edwards@baltimorecity.gov
  • Lou- Concerned about the past 5 year extension, ending in December, do they need a show of success? According to Dan, it does not end in December.
  • Cecilia- community representation
    • Motion for use to find out about community opinion and looking for the next step or solution. Seeking dialogue. (No second, motion died).
    • Dan Bythewood: 20% of the 262 will be used for subsidies (53 units). Will be 20% in the future.

La Cite Letter of Support: 

  • Dan requested a letter of support from SWP about business dealings. It was not relevant, only about the business dealings. Richard asked about the board meeting extension. Richard created an executive meeting (in accordance with partnership bylaws) and they decided to give the letter with the caveat that Richard gets Sonias opinion. 
  • Scott Kashnow- everyone wants poppleton to be successful. More than just this project. Need clarity, just because it’s open does not mean there is meaningful understanding. 
    • Appeal to Dan or representative to attend the two meetings (With Scott or Heather). 
    • Also, come forward with a community stance. Historic habitable houses should not be taken down! Scott wants a statement of values.
    • In regards to Poppleton City CDC – Dan met with them and what is happening now is that old plan.
    • Sonia- assessment value, down below $100,000
      • Dotie $76-79k assessed at, can sell for more than that. 
  • Bif- Motion to adjourn, Patty Hogan second. Laura opposed. Heather opposed. Failed.

Motion to adjourn: passed 9:40

No one opposed. 

For the next meeting

Dotie Page wants: Sara Ann Street- how much did they get 300 Block of carrollton ave. 

Scott Kashnow and Cecilia Gonxalez proposal for clarity on housing demolition position and community consensus. 

Edith: do we have a professional who says what (if at all) can be rehabilitated. 

Other announcements will be sent to emails.