City Council Members: Demo 200 Program has a Place in Aiken
May 2, 2023
Source: Aiken Standard
The suspended Demo 200 program has a place in Aiken according to five members of Aiken City Council.
The city council established the program in 1999. It allows residential property owners to pay the city $200 to have a “dilapidated, uninhabitable structure” demolished and removed from their property and retain the land.
City Manager Stuart Bedenbaugh said in a memorandum to city council that the city has the option to use federal Community Block Development Grant funds provided by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to demolish the structures if the structures are located in a low- or moderate-income area.
In 2020, city council amended the program to include an option for non-residential property owners to pay $2,000 to have a “substandard” structure demolished and removed.
The section of the city code allowing non-residential property owners to have structures demolished also includes provisions requiring the non-residential property owner to have owned the property for two years and that the cost of the demolition is a loan of up to $20,000 that is forgiven by the city over a four-year period. If the non-residential property owner sells the property before the loan is forgiven, the balance comes due.
The 2020 amendment also allows the city manager to waive the requirements of the non-residential property program for a nonprofit organization that is necessary to provide community services. It also establishes that repeat applicants for the residential demolition program fall under the non-residential property provision.
Bedenbaugh said 20 structures have been demolished under the program since 2019 including nine in 2019, two in 2020, six in 2021, two in 2022 and one in 2023.
He said he suspended the program Feb. 28, 2023 in accordance with a request from council to study the program and discuss its future at later meetings.
Monday evening, five members of city council participated in the first of those meetings: a tour to view structures that could be demolished through the program. The council also heard from code enforcement personnel with the city and spoke to the neighbors of the properties with a structure that could be demolished under the program.
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