Box 5, Folder 3, Document 37

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May 13, 1969




On April 18, Mr. Albert N. Cowan made the following complaint
to this office.

His brother, Robert H. Cowan, of Jacksonville, Florida, owns
a residential structure (Cowan Family Home) located at 1043 Stewart
Avenue, S.W., in the Adair Park portion of Model Cities area; that
Robert H. Cowan was required by the City of Atlanta (Building Department -
Housing Code Division) during 1967 to bring this structure up to
Housing Code standards and spent $6,600 on the project; that the
work was done by a Mr. G. J. Carruth, a White Minister, who also
professed to be a Contractor.

Mr. Cowan continued that recently his brother was called into
the Housing Authority Rehabilitation Office at 530 McDaniel Street,
S.W. and told that additional work needs to be done on his house
which will cost an additional estimated $7,000; that he may obtain
a 3% direct Federal loan with up to a 20-year mortgage and has 60
days in which to comply.

Mr. Albert Cowan also said that his brother is 76 years old and
does not want to place a new 20-year mortgage on this property, even
if it is at 3% interest. (Estimated cost is approximately $5.55
per. month, per $1,000); that he lets his sister, Miss Pearl Cowan,
live there free and Miss Pearl Cowan rents rooms (I understand as
a livelihood which is her principal source of income and support);
that the house is liveable and basically sound; that no major damage

or vandalism has occurred to the property since it was brought up


to Housing Code standards by the City in 1967; that the owner,
Robert H. Cowan, is willing to make additional minor repairs
occassioned by fair, wear and tear during the past 2 years, but does
not feel that he should be required to spend now an additional
$7,000, after having spent $6,600 in 1967 to meet City requirements,
which were designated, inspected and work accepted by the City's

official representatives.


Check with the Housing Code Division reveals that on February
9, 1967, a Housing Code case was initiated against this property in
connection with a house-by-house inspection in a designated con-
centrated Housing Code Enforcement area; that a building permit for
repair of this structure was taken out 4-24-67 by G. J. Carruth,
Contractor, in amount of $4,100; that the work was complied 6-9-67
by the Housing Code Division and certificate issued for 3 units, with
existing facilities (copy of Housing Code record attached, Encl. 1).
Mr. Cowan maintains that his brother paid $6,600 to the contractor
and presumes that the extra $2,500 above permit cost was the contractor's
profit. He also states that the contractor procured floor tile for
one of the rooms but did not install it, which he promised to do
later, but never did.

Check with the Housing Authority Rehabilitation Office for Model
Cities at 530 McDaniel Street, S.W., reveals that on April 22, 1969,
that office issued Mr. Robert H. Cowan an itemized list of "Violations"
which also stated that all work to be done shall comply with

specifications set forth in "Invitations to Bid" and "Minimum Property

Standards for Urban Renewal Rehabilitation" and that the property be

reduced to two units (copy attached, Encl. 2).


The Housing Authority Inspector's estimate of the cost of this

work was originally $7,000 but was later reduced to $6,000 as result

of conference between the owner and inspector.

This is


essentially what has happened:

Model Cities has designated this portion of the
Adair Park area for rehabilitation in 1969,
although it was included in a concentrated Housing
Code Enforcement program conducted in the

Same area on a house-by-house basis in 1967.
Model Cities has accepted Urban Renewal

Project Rehabilifation Standards, essentially

as used in West End, i.e., "Property
Rehabilitation Standards, Model Cities Urban
Renewal Redevelopment Area“, based on HUD
Pamphlet PG-50, "Rehabilitation Guide for
Residential Properties", These Urban Renewal
Rehabilitation standards were prepared by the HUD
Regional Staff.

The HUD Guide is reasonable and permits
considerable flexibility in local application.
However, the standards prepared by the Housing
Authority and approved by HUD include
considerable local interpretation of the HUD
Guide and, as was explained to me by the
Housing Authority Rehabilitation Inspector,

are intended to essentially


rebuild properties, rather than just repair
them, and is designed to place them in
essentially new house condition, presumably
free from additional maintenance for the next
15 years, thus placing them in.a category very
Similar to housing rebuilt for resale under the
FHA 221 (h) program.

No consideration has been given to the City's
previous rehabilitation efforts in this area
under the Housing Code. Zoning requirements
for the area have been taken literally from

the Zoning Map, with no allowances made for
previously approved use of specific structures.
No consideration is given to legal non-conform-
ing uses in the area, authorized by the Zoning


Although most of the Model Cities’ requirements

are reasonable and would be desirable if no
other improvement efforts had been made on the
property recently, some of the requirements
however appear impractical, particularly for
rental property. Examples in this particular
case are:
1. Requiring resanding and refinishing

of perfectly solid wooden floors throughout.
2. Removal of good fencing, desired to be

retained by the owner as a means of protection.


3. Removal of serviceable electric switch
in hallway entrance to the bathroom and
re-installing same switch inside the



The Model Cities Rehabilitation Standards as such, are unenforce-
able. If owners fail to comply voluntarily, the Housing Authority
has no other course open than to turn the case over to the City to
effect compliance. At this point (and this is quite important) the
City will require, and the Courts will enforce, only complicance with
the City of Atlanta's Housing Code.

This is one reason why on October 18, 1968, in Memorandum to
Mayor Allen I recommended:

"That rehabilitation in the Model Cities area be accomplished
by the City, rather than by the Housing Authority, utilizing both
the City and Housing Authority Inspectors. This is believed to be
the most feasible procedure in view of the extent of current trained
staffs available and should produce the fastest resultS .. . .« «o.

That the Houing Code standards be recommended for use as the
Rehabilitation Standards in the Model Cities area . . . . ."

Also on October 31, 1968, in Memorandum to the Director of Model
Cities, I stated:

"Also, I feel very strongly that one set of rehabilitation
standards only for the entire Model Cities should be established for
execution by both the Housing Authority and the City; and that initial

notices to property owners to rehabilitate their dwellings to meet


required standards should be issued in the name of the City of Atlanta,
regardless of who or under whose jurisdiction the actual processing
and execution is accomplished. This is to provide the legal require-
ments necessary to invoke the Police Powers of the City, if necessary,
at a later date to insure compliance. This will avoid encountering
extensive time delays later and costly repetition of efforts in
processing rehabilitation notices originally issued by the Housing
Authority Inspectors, but which may eventually have to be turned over
to the City to enforce in order to obtain compliance . .. ."

Comparison of Federal Pamphlet PG-50 "Rehabilitation Guide for
Residential Properties" and the City Housing Code standards reveals
that they are quite similar and not sufficiently far apart to justify
two sets of standards for rehabilitation of residential properties
within the same area, simultaneous or in quick succession, as in this

However, two sets of standards do currently exist and probably
won't be changed now, in view of HUD's already approval of the Urban
Renewal Rehabilitation standards. In generai, little fault can be
found with the Urban Renewal Rehabilitation requirements, and the
procedure for effecting them provides assistance and controls which
are definitely helpful. See ‘General Conditions - Bids and Proposal -
Construction Contract" (Encl. 3). Therefore adoption of proposed
procedure by the City in the Model Cities area appears appropriate and
desirable, in fairness to property owners, while at the same time
attempting to meet the objectives of Model Cities for improvements

“above and beyond" required Housing Code standards.


A tour of the Adair Park Neighborhood (Stewart Avenue West),
where the City Housing Code was enforced on a house-by~-house basis
just two years ago, reveals a very neat and well-kept neighborhood.
With few exceptions, this area is definitely a credit to the Housing
Code Enforcement efforts and to the City of Atlanta in general. If
all of Atlanta was in as good condition of maintenance and wauevel
up-keep as this area is now, there would be no problem. There are
probably several hundred decent, safe and sanitary residential
structures in this general area in good sound livable condition that
are, or will be, effected in a very similar manner to Mr. Cowan's

With all of the much worse housing in so many portions of the
Model Cities area, which badly needs rehabilitation, it is unfortunate
that a portion of this excellent area which was just brought up to
Housing Code requirements within the past two years, has been selected
for Urban Renewal Rehabilitation during 1969. This seems a misuse
of effort and waste of money, both private and public.

If the City is to have the support of property owners in any
neighborhood, and this it must have for success of rehabilitation
efforts, these people, their pocketbooks and previous improvement

efforts must be given appropriate consideration,

A. That owners in the Model Cities rehabilitation areas be
informed of Model Cities standards and provided with
lists of specific improvements needed to meet these
standards. Also that they be advised of the special
benefits and free services such as 3% interest,

20-year mortgage rehabilitation

= §-

loan, free architectural advice, competent direct
supervision over work being done and withholding
Payment to the contractors until work has been

completed and accepted as satisfactory; and to offer

these benefits to the owners if they wish to take

advantage of them.

At the same time however, inform the owners that

all of these improvements, although desirable, are
not mandatory or enforceable, but that the Housing
Code requirements are,

Then give each owner the opportunity to decide which
course he desires to follow.

Unless this is done openingly and above board, many property owners,
through ignorance of the law and or fear of getting entangled with
City Hall, will commit themselves to larger expenditures than are
necessary or that they desire or are financially able to carry out,
thus envoking actual hardship.

While the rebuilding concept, as opposed to repair, is costly
to the property owners in Adair Park, which is basically a substantial
upper-middle class neighborhood where most of the structures are
basically sound and well-kept, the current policy will be particularly
costly and difficult for the less affluent property owners in areas
such as Summerhill, Mechanicsville and Pittsburgh where the structures
are poorer built initially and in much worse state of maintenance.

This proposed procedure has been discussed with, and would have
the support of, the Chief Housing Code Inspector, Building Department

and the Supervisor, Housing Authority, Model Cities Rehabilitation


Office, 530 McDaniel Street, S.W.
Unless procedure substantially as indicated above is adopted,
the entire rehabilitation effort in the Model Cities area is very

likely to eventually result as a serious detriment to success of the

program and to the goodwill and support of the housing improvement

programs of the City in general and of Model Cities area in particular.

Therefore, I recommend and strongly urge that the above indicated
procedure be adopted in this particular case and in similar situations

in all NDP areas, in fairness and justice to all concerned.

Malcolm D ones
Housing Coordinator


Encls: Housing Code Enforcement Record, 1043 Stewart Avenue, S.W.
Housing Authority Urban Renewal Rehabilitation requirements
“Work Write-up" on same property
General Conditions - Bid and Proposal - Construction Contract

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