Mayor Chris Beutler today said replacing Lincoln's current Uniform Housing Code with the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) will help the City address problem properties in neighborhoods. The City Council will hold a public hearing on adopting the IPMC at its meeting Monday, February 22. The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. at the County-City Building, 555 S. 10th St. The City Council is scheduled to vote on the change March 1.
This is the first in a series of proposed steps to tackle problem properties," said Mayor Beutler. "The City has been working with neighborhood associations and property owners on this important issue. As the most current enforcement ordinance available, the IPMC is an important tool in this effort. The goal is to have clear, concise requirements that focus on problems and strengthen neighborhoods.
The IPMC is in the family of international codes the City already uses for electrical, building, plumbing and other areas. If adopted, changes would include the following:
Mayoral Aide Jon Carlson manages the Stronger Safer Neighborhoods program and included the IPMC in a package of policy changes discussed late last year at a City Council briefing. Council Chair Doug Emery said Council members have expressed strong interest in the issue. "We have been working together to create more tools to improve properties," Emery said. "Neighborhoods need safe and decent housing and strong enforcement tools for problem properties."
Lynn Fisher, a rental property owner and IPMC task force member, said property owners and managers appreciate having the codes clearly detailed. " The majority of rental owners follow the rules because it's just good business," Fisher said. "Those who don't follow the rules create a problem for the entire neighborhood and hurt all property values."
Shawn Ryba of NeighborWork said addressing problem properties has been the top priority of the Lincoln Policy Network (LPN), a group of residents, business and residential property owners, Realtors, and non-profits. The LPN was formed to identify community issues, formulate solutions, and implement plans to change City, County or State policies through new legislation or the modification of existing laws or ordinances.
We are extremely pleased at the steps the Mayor's office and City Hall are undertaking to help improve neighborhoods," said Ryba, who helped organize a series of potlucks to spotlight owners who repeatedly let their properties decline. "Together, we are sending a message that problem properties will not be tolerated in this community.
A single problem property can really bring down an entire block," said Tracy Corr, Chair of the Mayor's Neighborhood Roundtable and LPN member. "Improving Lincoln is in everyone's interest. When we come together and speak with a common voice, City leaders and policy makers listen.