Officials: City wants to help, not hurt residents unable to clean nuisance properties

Residents fearful the city will move more aggressively to cite and possibly seize homes of low-income residents got reassurances from officials Thursday evening that the city is interested only in getting nuisance properties cleaned quicker.

Driving the news: The Palm Springs City Council discussed two dozen ordinance revisions Thursday evening designed to allow more flexibility to bring offenders into compliance. Some citizens who spoke before the item was discussed said they fear the changes are designed to easier impose burdensome fines, which could lead to loss of homes for residents who want to clean their property but can’t afford to.

What they’re saying: “For me, as a resident and a community member, I think that this is something that is very dangerous,” said Charlie Ervin, a leader in the Desert Highland Gateway Estates neighborhood and member of the city’s Planning Commission. “We’ve already had our community deal with COVID-19. Now we have other issues being added and the fear of losing our homes.”

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Behind the scenes: Ervin and others have recently pointed to an uptick in citations and warnings being left on vehicles and at property in their neighborhood. The issue was raised at a neighborhood meeting May 10.

  • Many in attendance at that meeting said they were willing to rally together to help clean nuisance properties. “It can be a negative, but it can also be a positive to help bring the community together,” said one resident.

What’s next: The Council voted to continue its discussion on the proposed changes until after the city attorney and code enforcement staff could rework some of the proposed changes to clarify the intent.

  • Councilmembers also expressed interest in creating a fund to assist low-income residents who want to bring their property into compliance.

Bottom line:  While concerns over helping those willing but unable to clean their property dominated the conversation, it was noted that there are some violators simply not interested in compliance.

  • “We have slumlords here in Palm Springs who really take advantage of tenants” – Councilmember Christy Holstege


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