Two blocks of Otsego Street are under attack from three blighted properties.
10800, 10927, and 10936 are all owned by the same landlord. 10927 has been in such bad shape for so long that it was added to the abatement list in 2018, more than five years ago.
One reader reached out some time ago about the houses, telling me:
All of these properties are vacant for some reason or another, and have been for years, and all are regularly used by squatters. The first two properties have caught on fire several times, with many of the locals pleading with officials to do something before they also lose their homes to fire. Word is that the owner has refused to sell or demolish them, though I wouldn't be able to guess the logic there.
I don't see the logic either. What the hell is wrong with (some) people?!
According to Redditor u/ruthi:
I've included screenshots of the 311 reports for each home going back since 2020. There's a minimum of 750 property violations reported for each home, and they all simply say "closed" with no additional information. The city knows about these places and that they are regular problems, but we can't seem to get any explanation for any of it.
Basically, we're kinda scared. It's only a matter of time that there's an accident or a fire big enough that we risk losing our homes (an armed dude just had a standoff with the police in one of them last night). The word is that the owner is trying to hold out so he can sell the land at the highest amount he can, but there's gotta be some responsibility that the city has to the neighbors if a property is a known risk, right?
I checked, and there is indeed a long list of violations for each property, ranging from bees to squatters to illegal dumping.
u/ruthi also reports MONTHLY (give or take) fires set by a serial arsonist. Why is the arsonist not in jail (or a psychiatric hospital), and why hasn't the city stepped in to protect the neighbors?
Some complaints dated within the last few weeks are already listed as "closed".
After YEARS of the city failing to hold the owner accountable, two of the three houses made their way to a Board of Building and Safety Commissioners meeting agenda.
I requested, and received, copies of the Board's determinations. 10927 and 10936 have now both been declared public nuisances (although the neighbors have been saying as much for quite some time now). An abatement order will be given for 10936, and 10927 is getting an Order to Comply.
That means there's a chance the houses might even be torn down. Especially since the owner doesn't seem to care at all.
Those houses SHOULD have been homes for three households all this time. Instead, they've sat improperly secured, sustained fire damage, and been treated abominably by squatters, vandals, and according to the Board's own paperwork, possibly even gang members.