The chicken or the egg?

Published 10:33 am Friday, January 12, 2018

Ah, the age old question. Which came first? Perhaps we will never know. During this week’s Franklin City Council meeting, a similar issue was raised by those who opposed council’s new derelict property ordinance.

The new ordinance would both incentivize and compel the owners of properties deemed by the city to be derelict to either improve or demolish them. Some who voiced concern over the new ordinance stated that property owners needed the local economy to improve before they afford upgrades to neglected properties. And therein lies the dilemma; will the local economy ever improve if the number of blighted properties continues to grow without being repaired or razed?

Much like the chicken and the egg, we may never know the answer.  But we do know this: as more properties become eyesores around the city, it makes the already difficult task of economic development even more challenging. Property owners have a responsibility to their neighbors and fellow citizens to keep up their property. Failing to do so has a negative impact that extends beyond their own property’s borders. With property ownership also comes responsibility. If investment property owners can’t afford to maintain what they own, they shouldn’t buy it in the first place.

For the good of Franklin, whether it be through existing or new ordinances, the city should press hard to force those who aren’t keeping up their end of the bargain to get up to code or get out of the property ownership business.

While the chicken or the egg is a topic we could debate for eternity, the issue of blighted and derelict property in the city is one that should require little debate at all.