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Abandoned homes in North Ogden attracting criminal activity, city council considers tearing them down

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Posted at 5:57 PM, Jul 31, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-01 00:17:51-04

NORTH OGDEN, Utah -- They are unsafe, unsightly and condemned.

North Ogden City leaders will likely pass a proposal to tear down several homes lining one of their busiest streets, with or without the property owner's permission.

There are roughly 10 of the abandoned homes throughout the city. Brent Taylor, North Ogden Mayor, said the homes are an eyesore and a safety hazard--and it's time for them to go.

“We're not being heavy handed here, it's not [that] we're trying to control everyone's life," he said. "It's just these really egregious situations where the property owner is not taking responsibility."

For years, these homes have been condemned, empty and rotting along Washington Boulevard.

“A lot of them are abandoned homes: They have the windows broken, they have weeds that are 5, 6-feet tall, the copper has been stripped out for drug money,” Taylor said.

That's why the city is looking at an ordinance that would allow them to tear the homes down, and bill the property owner for the work.

“They're out of state owners, or maybe a bank-owned, and the owners aren't responding to our efforts to try and get them cleaned up,” Taylor said.

The city says some of the homes have been vacant for nearly a decade and have become a hotbed for illegal activity, including selling and buying drugs.

“We arrested a homeless person in there," Taylor said of one home. "He was from out of state and said it's on the grapevine that it was kind of a stopover location if you're passing through Northern Utah, and we don't want that happening here in our city."

Local business owners in the area said they want to see the homes torn down. Shawn Maynard, owner of the Cannery Building and Bullfrog Spas, is among them.

“It devalues the presentation I'm trying to make," Maynard said. "I want to show a nice, attractive store front and [that] the city we live in is safe and all of that kind of stuff, and to have a condemned house next door is contrary to all that."

The city council will vote on the proposal within the next month.