CFOB’s Success in tackling the “Zombie” House Problem
In 2008 communities across the country, including Ormond Beach, felt the effects of the housing bubble.
The resulting foreclosures left our neighborhoods with a large number of vacant homes. With each passing year these abandoned houses became more derelict and unsightly affecting the quality of life and home values of our neighborhoods.
Citizens for Ormond Beach pondered if there was anything our civic group could do to improve this situation. We knew the first step would be to do research to give us a greater insight into the problem.
Working with the city staff we obtained a list of homes that the city had identified as vacant. In addition we asked our members and the community at large to submit to our website the addresses of vacant homes in their neighborhood. The combined list added up to several hundred homes that we could identify.
We established a research committee. Endless volunteer hours were devoted to delving into the histories of about 150 homes on this combined list. We also visited the site of these houses and photographed them.
In 2014 with the full impact of these “Zombie” houses having a dramatic effect on our community, CFOB presented our full report in a research packet and slide presentation to the City Commission in a dedicated workshop. In addition, we made the same presentation to a packed audience in the auditorium of the Ormond library.
Our packet also included recommendations such as:
- Hiring additional staff
- Pro-bono workshops with information to residents facing foreclosure.
- Raising the abandoned property registration fee that banks paid.
- Banks minimal maintenance of vacant homes should be done by local service companies for faster compliance.
- An ordinance should be drafted that made it easier to cite mortgage companies that controlled these properties.
The city of Ormond Beach adopted our suggestions and went even further adding additional ordinances. Our excellent Neighborhood Improvement Director, Chris Mason, worked with our group following up on all the complaints we submitted and reported back to our board on the progress being made. We still work closely with the Neighborhood Improvement Department and we encourage residents to visit our website, click on ASK CFOB, and report the code violation and the address. We will follow up and you will remain anonymous.
CFOB remains committed to doing all we can to work with the city to insure the safeguarding of our quality of life and the integrity of our neighborhoods.