vacant houses

Cross-over frenzy

Mar 22, 2016
Rachel Baye / WYPR

Monday was “Cross Over Day” in Annapolis — the day by which bills must "cross over" from one chamber of the General Assembly to the other to have the greatest chance of becoming law at the end of the session. WYPR's Rachel Baye joined Morning Edition Host Nathan Sterner the morning after  to discuss which legislation survived the hurdle.  

Gun Control, Demolition Money and Threats

Feb 12, 2016
Rachel Baye


This week in the General Assembly Democratic leaders called for new gun control legislation, Governor Larry Hogan delivered on the first installment of money to demolish vacant homes in Baltimore and 29 senators became the targets of hate mail because of their votes to override a gubernatorial veto. WYPR's Rachel Baye was in Annapolis for all of that and joins News Director Joel McCord to talk about it.

State lawmaker suggests rehab of vacant homes

Feb 10, 2016
Rachel Baye

Gov. Larry Hogan and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake introduced a plan in early January to demolish thousands of vacant row homes across the city.

But Del. Keith Haynes has a different proposal. The Baltimore Democrat says that while some vacant homes should be torn down, others may still have life left in them. 

Governor begins tearing down city's vacant homes

Jan 5, 2016
Rachel Baye

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and a large construction vehicle flanked Gov. Larry Hogan in Baltimore’s Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood on Tuesday afternoon as he announced a $94-million plan to tear down thousands of vacant homes in the city over the next four years.

And the plan took effect immediately, with the destruction of a boarded-up house on the 1000 block of North Stricker Street shortly after the officials finished speaking.

Slumlord and Communities Reach Settlement

Aug 21, 2015
P. Kenneth Burns / WYPR

A federal judge has approved a settlement between a Houston man who owns derelict properties in Baltimore and six city community associations in the first case using a state law that allows associations to sue the owners of blighted properties.

Scott Wizig and several limited liability companies that hold titles to more than 50 dilapidated homes throughout the city will be required to rehab the properties that can be saved and demolish the ones that can’t.  

The settlement was approved in federal bankruptcy court Tuesday.

Case Against Vacant Slumlord Now In Federal Court

Jun 26, 2015
P. Kenneth Burns / WYPR

  A Houston man who was ordered to fix up his derelict city properties by a Maryland judge last year has filed for bankruptcy, leaving the future of dozens of blighted properties up in the air.

Six community associations sued Scott Wizig and the nine Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs) he controls in April 2013 to force him to clean up 49 properties. Baltimore Circuit Judge Pamela Brown ordered Wizig to make the repairs by the end of October last year. But he requested a reconsideration of that order, then his LLCs filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy laws the day before the hearing on that request.

That put state court actions on hold temporarily.

Greening Begins In East Baltimore

Oct 23, 2014
P. Kenneth Burns / WYPR

  Seventeen people are hard at work at a job site in the 2300 and 2400 blocks of E. Eager Street in Milton-Montford.  The site is right next to the Amtrak line and can be seen by train passengers.  The workers are salvaging what they can of the wood, brick and metal from one of the 35 houses being torn down.

At a table nearby, six people are chiseling mortar off bricks and setting them on a pallet.  The bricks will be sold to contractors along the Eastern Seaboard and Gulf Coast.

P. Kenneth Burns/WYPR

Community advocates are looking at attacking two of Baltimore’s biggest problems – 16,000 vacant houses that blight blocks of the city and the need for affordable housing – with community land trusts.

Making the Brown Track Green

Mar 31, 2014
P. Kenneth Burns/WYPR

The first impression train travelers from the north get of Baltimore isn’t a very good one.

And that makes potential investors leery of the city.

The train rolls past older, active neighborhoods at first. But once past Frank Bocek Park, the scenery changes to block after block of crumbling, vacant houses, right in the shadow of Johns Hopkins Hospital’s famous.  Some roofs have caved in and windows are broken.  Sometimes walls have crumbled away entirely, leaving the interior of the houses visible.

P. Kenneth Burns / WYPR

Other cities in Maryland and across the country are looking to Baltimore for ideas on how to deal with vacant properties.  The one method that has caught their attention is receivership; one of the tools of the “Vacants to Value” program started by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake in November 2010.