DPW to go after ‘slum’ tenements

Derelict buildings (PNC file photo)

So-called slum tenements may soon fall under DPW’s authority for derelict buildings.

The Department of Public Works recently asked the island’s mayors for a list of derelict buildings.

DPW has the authority to clean up and fence such properties as well as make them safe. Any funds expended can be used to put a lien on the structure.

During Tuesday’s Island Beautification Task Force meeting, Sinajana Mayor Robert Hoffman asked if “slums” could be included on this list.

He gave the example of apartment buildings that lack railings and are otherwise unsafe.

Lieutenant Governor Josh Tenorio recommended that mayors refer the structures to DPW and let them decide, citing the several structural deficiencies named under the law.

These deficiencies include anything causing a building to be structurally unsafe, unsanitary, unfit for human habitation, constitute a fire hazard, or otherwise threaten the lives and safety of the public or its occupants.

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“If need be, like the LT said, we’ll bring in Public Health…we’ll bring in EPA…because the code is very broad..and so it covers a lot of issues,” DPW director Vince Arriola said.

Along with derelict structures, the law also covers abandoned vehicles.

Village mayors will be meeting Thursday morning to discuss the next steps for that program.