Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Berkeley and Oakland Differ Greatly in Blight Ordinances

The City of Oakland and Berkeley differ greatly in their blight ordinances. The City of Oakland has a far more comprehensive blight ordinance. Importantly, it applies to all properties in Oakland. Berkeley, on the other hand, has a major exclusion related to single family dwellings that are owner occupied. In other words, the Berkeley anti-blight ordinance does not apply to residential dwellings that are occupied by the property owner. This is a major hole in the blight ordinance as some of the most blighted properties are owner occupied single family dwellings. This is a serious problem for South Berkeley. Because the blight ordinance does not apply to such homes, the owners are free to establish and maintain blight regardless of the effect on adjacent neighbors. Not only do these properties cause a significant degradation of neighborhoods, but they materially affect property values.

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