The Substandard Building Committee was created in December of 2017 to address some of the abandoned, unsafe and eyesore buildings in the Fort Stockton area.
The purpose of the committee is to promote health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Fort Stockton by securing, repairing, or removing structures that are deemed dilapidated, substandard or unfit for habitation and/or hazardous to public health, safety, and welfare.
The committee consists of four members currently, normally five, who are appointed by city council and overseen by Building Official Robert Stoddard.
They meet monthly and hear and take action on problem structures around the community.
Some of the things they look for are rood safety, windows broken or doors completely gone, no utilities for years or vacant for years and in disrepair.
The timeline for owners to fix the problems, which could include a variety of things up until demolition are typically 30 to 90 days, said Stoddard.
“Securing the building is absolutely required, you have to make it so no one is able to enter,” said Stoddard.
Some of the other things they look for are the foundation of the building, the exterior and if there are junk items or cars just left behind.
Stoddard said that 60% to 70% of the owners live in town and have inherited the properties and just haven't decided what to do with them yet.
Some of the properties are left to multiple siblings who can't agree what to do with the property.
“We have really pushed the city to find who the owner is before any action is taken,” said substandard building committee member Ross Harper.
The committee has only been in action for a year and a half but Harper said they take as much time as necessary to find owners and give them time to get their property safe and secured.
“I think the board has been successful,” said Harper. “Instead of tearing down houses we are trying to encourage people and help them and guide them in fixing up their houses.”