No plans to tear down urban blight in North Rapid

Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 7:02 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) -Urban Blight can be defined as a building that is, abandoned, vacant, and vandalized.

It is also defined as the deterioration of a building or home and includes vacant lots with weeds and trash.

On the Next Door app, some people have raised concerns over these empty buildings in north Rapid. One user said “These properties are bringing more crime and graffiti. They’re being used as trap houses and attracting more drug users, and criminal behavior in our community.”

When speaking to the city officials about these properties, They say the first step to fix or demolish these buildings, is getting a complaint about the property.

“When the complaint comes in, We establish a code case first, and with that code case then it’s on record that We’ve received a complaint. At that point then We can schedule for inspections to occur on sight,” said Lon Schnittgrund, Code Consultant/ plans examiner, City of Rapid City.

Depending on the complaint the property owner will have a certain amount of time to fix the problem.

“Once that timeline expires, We will reinspect the sight and from there if the property owner has gotten everything taken care of then the case is closed. If it’s not taken care of the city will go in and remove that stuff and will actually send that bill to the property owner,” said Matt Owczarek, Code Enforcement division manager.

As far as the future of these buildings there is currently no plan to demolish the structures.

“We just have to wait until code enforcement takes place. Ideally, I would love to go in and redevelop the property, but it’s owned by somebody. And as long as They are following all the laws and the community code enforcement, We are a little limited in the options of what We can do as a city,” said Lance Lehmann, City Council President.

For more information on where You can out in a concern, click here.