After all the debate, meetings and delays the “Good Repair” ordinance was passed by a unanimous vote of the City Council at it’s meeting Tuesday, July 16 in the Council Chamber.
The only person to say anything bad about the ordinance, which sets maintenance standards for every nonresidential building in Greensboro, was its biggest booster City Councilmember Justin Outling. Many speakers spent a good bit of time thanking everyone for doing a great job, and on the importance of the 30 day extension.
Outling complained that the ordinance should be much stronger, that they should have passed it a long time ago and the idea that the stakeholders and special interest groups had not had enough input in June, when after much discussion the vote on the ordinance was delayed for 30 days, was bunk.
Outling said all that in a much more wordy and lawyerly fashion. One of the many things that riled Outling to the point he felt the need to speak against the ordinance, that wouldn’t exist without him, was that vacant nonresidential buildings wouldn’t be held to the same standard as occupied nonresidential buildings. It was one of the primary changes made to the ordinance in the past month.
Outling got strong pushback from Mayor Nancy Vaughan and Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter who unlike Outling attended the meetings with the stakeholders, including those representing special interest groups, and heard the input from people who know the commercial real estate business.
Vaughan noted that unlike residential buildings, nonresidential structures can have many uses and to require the owner to make repairs that might have to be torn out when a new tenant with a different use moved in was unfair to the property owner.
Abuzuaiter spoke strongly about the value of not just meeting with stakeholders but incorporating their input into the ordinance. She also spoke about something that has been written about often in the Rhino Times. She noted that when the whole process got started it was done by a couple of councilmembers directing staff and the rest of the City Council had no input.
Councilmember Michelle Kennedy raised a question that was discussed early in the process, which is will the inspectors and Minimum Housing Standards Commission have the time to handle the thousands of buildings that now come under their purview.
Whether they have time or not the new “Good Repair” ordinance is the law of the land in Greensboro.