2011-06-11 / Editorials & Letters

Support Baltimore’s effort to clean up distressed properties


Two articles were published recently in local newspapers having to do with distressed properties in our community. The Buckeye Lake Beacon’s April 30 issue and the Lancaster Eagle Gazette’s April 18 edition both reported on Baltimore’s vacant and dilapidated rental properties.

These neglected properties are distressing surrounding property values and the city’s budget as Baltimore tries to enforce code violations and clean up after wayward owners and landlords. The mayor and other civic leaders are working with those owners in an attempt to reduce crime and stem the decline in property values in these and neighboring lots.

Let’s hope they are successful. Nothing reduces a property’s value, and thus the net worth of its owner, than an eyesore nearby. It is the first principle of property valuation that the location of a property being appraised is a big determinant of its value. Proximity to schools, stores and other amenities is what real estate appraisers refer to as a locational factor. Another locational factor is that property’s proximity to unpleasant things, like surrounding buildings and lots falling into disrepair. One distressed property will drag the value of its neighbors down and those neighbors will impact others until an entire community’s worth is diminished.

Regardless of the current situation with real estate in our nation, our homes are still our biggest asset and our sole source of security.

Baltimore’s mayor and civic leaders are trying to protect all of us with their outreach and enforcement programs. They deserve our support and our gratitude.

David Stone

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