Rules of the Road

The purpose of this blog is to share with you my thoughts on issues pertaining to Oil City and Venango County and to foster discussion.

However, that requires some basic rules. Personal attacks, inappropriate language and venom-filled postings will not be tolerated. Comments will be screened, and if necessary edited, before posting.

Disagreement and a variety of opinions are encouraged, but I ask that it always be in a respectful, positive manner. So fire away, but do so cleanly

Monday, February 23, 2009

Housing, Neighborhoods and our future

In my last post I noted the Oil City Derrick’s article on the Venango County Housing study conducted by CZB.

Thanks to Joan Wheeler for clueing me in, here is a link where the full report can be found:

I urge everyone concerned about our neighborhoods and our future as a community to read it. The study conducted by the consulting firm CZB contains some hard truths. I suspect many of us instinctively knew or at least had a suspicion of some of the things that CZB found and made crystal clear in its report, including that cheap, substandard housing leads to further decline.

Some of the suggested solutions to our housing problems are going to draw fire, notably the call for rental unit registration and inspection. On at least two prior occasions when that was brought up in Oil City it met with a firestorm of criticism from landlords and obviously failed to go anywhere.

The consultants also called for strict and aggressive building code and property maintenance enforcement. Again, this is not going to be popular with everyone, but in my mind is absolutely necessary if we are going to save our neighborhoods and our community.

The report also clearly indicates we have way more housing than we need, especially of the cheap and substandard kind. This is not good for Oil City, or the county as a whole. The report suggests that we move to demolish the worst of that. Council has long recognized the need to demolish our condemned and abandoned houses, but as with all things, is constrained financially.

Getting our housing market right is necessary to preserve our neighborhoods. Preserving neighborhoods is necessary for economic development.