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UPDATE ON WHEELER FIRE LOCATION


On Monday, the areas around 124-128 Wheeler where the fire occurred on Saturday night were secured and cleaned up and the roads around were re-opened. We have been working actively with New World International on a demolition permit for the burned building and to demand that they have a more active role in maintaining all of the vacant sites they own around town. To that end, we have a meeting scheduled with them next week where our Police, Fire, Development Services, and City Manager’s Departments will discuss the many concerns we have raised over the past months and ensuring they have a viable plan to ensure safety and security at their sites along with a path forward on their development projects on those sites. On a somewhat related note, we are also investigating a commercial vacancy ordinance like our unoccupied residential property ordinance that would have financial impacts on the property owner for keeping sites vacant for an extended period. We are seeing more commercial sites around town that are stagnating in a fully vacant state, which is causing issues with homelessness, break-ins, copper thefts, and the like. A vacancy ordinance with financial costs to the property owners would either encourage them to occupy the sites/advance their development plans more quickly, or would provide a revenue stream for the City to offset its addition costs for responses and enforcement at these sites. Look for this concept coming to a City Council Meeting in the coming months.

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