Rat Elimination sign now

SUBJ: 915 WEST 26ST STREET

To the City of Norfolk, VA,

Abandoned buildings are issues of concern in nearly every city in the United States. These buildings depress neighborhoods, create illegal dumping grounds, harbor infestations of disease carrying pests, and may serve as a haven for various illegal activities (1). Many of these buildings are purchased for reuse via renovation or demolition with the intent to rebuild community enhancing structures.

Presently, the property located at 915 West 26th Street is for sale. The consensus among those persons with whom I have spoken who have an interest in the property state that it is a prime location for single family homes. This of course would require that the current structure be demolished.

Several areas of Norfolks Code of Ordinances (2) require compliance to rodent and vermin control guidelines. Specifically, Section 36-11 pertains to the demolition of property and the procedures to be followed. Whether this property is to be renovated or demolished, the concern is that disturbing the premises will cause the rodents to flee to the surrounding homes and structures. As one of many concerned area residents, I am disturbed about the likelihood of rodents burrowing beneath my crawl spaces and building nests beneath my home. Rodents are notorious carriers of infectious disease and several studies have shown they are capable of biting humans (3). It should be noted also that rodents have been shown to be the source of contamination in 46\% of the cases in a recent outbreak of salmonella poisoning and are also carriers of the often fatal respiratory disease Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (4). In short, rodents pose a severe public health risk. I speak confidently for the neighborhood and my family when I say that this is not the type of environment in which I wish to live.

I have enclosed a petition to show in part the level of support for the concerns that I have stated in this letter. The petition has been presented to the majority of the residents in the immediate vicinity of the subject property. We ask that the City of Norfolk, elected leaders and public administrators alike, please heed the requests of the petitioners and insist that individuals responsible for the renovation or demolition of the building exercise the utmost standards of commercial accountability in containing the rodents contained therein.

Cc: Residents by request
Dr. Theresa W. Whibley (City Council Ward 2)
Dr. Valerie Stallings (Director Public Health)
Mr. Jim Gildea (Asst Dir Planning & Comm Dev)
Civic League President

(1) - Bringing Buildings Back, Alan Mallach; 2006; pg 9.
(2) - Norfolk City Hall Webpage link: http://www.municode.com/resources/gateway.asp?pid=10121&sid=46
(3) - Rodent Sightings and Contacts in an Inner-City Population of Baltimore, MD, Childs, J. E et al; 1991 Bulletin of the Society of Vector; ISSN 0146-6429
(4) - Preventing Emerging Infectious Diseases: A Strategy for the 21st Century, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention et al.; 2006; pgs 36, 44, & 53. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/emergplan/plan98.pdf

We the residents of the City of Norfolk, residing in the vicinity of the 900 block of West 26th Street do agree to the following and call upon the local government to take the proper action in keeping with the best interest of its citizens:

- that the City of Norfolk enforces all sections of the Code of Ordinances requiring property owners to comply with rodent control policies regarding demolition of abandoned buildings;

- that the City of Norfolk release copies of all documents certifying the subject property as free and clear of all violations of any applicable rodent control policies to the following address:
P.O. Box 10622 Norfolk, VA 23513
ATTN: Mr. Shawn D. Wilkerson, Jr.

- that the City of Norfolk go above and beyond the local ordinances and enforce accountability to the entities responsible for the renovation or demolition of the premises at 915 West 26th Street by way of requiring that they reimburse costs of rodent extermination and removal for residents in the immediate vicinity of the subject premises. These costs shall be in effect for residents/businesses that have previously activated a pest control service plan for their residence prior to the completed sale of the subject property. These costs shall be in effect only for residents/businesses whose property encroaches within 150 yards of the subject premises.

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Gay ArroyoBy:
International PolicyIn:
Petition target:
City of Norfolk, VA

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