If certain property owners don't clean up their act, they'll have to fork over a lot of funds. A new ordinance passed Columbus City Council, aimed at getting rid of nuisance properties.
A run-down, boarded-up, neglected business in Franklinton has been abandoned since Robert Gray moved in across the street in 2009. "That place has been a nuisance ever since I've been here. Groundhogs are running everywhere," said Gray.
It's on the city's list of top ten most blighted properties. Not only is it an eyesore, the Executive Director of Franklinton's Board of Trade thinks when potential business owners drive through neighborhoods and see such a property, it seriously hurts revitalization. "When there are dilapidated properties in the vicinity, it just sends a bad message and makes them rethink their decisions." So Smith came to the city council meeting to support a new ordinance. It is one that allows the city to wage a daily $1,000 penalty against a property owner if they continue to ignore notices to take care of the nuisance.
"We've been struggling with this and the criminal process takes such a long time. This gives us another deterrent to make sure we're holding people accountable," said Councilwoman Michelle Mills.
A look at more of the properties explains the necessity for action. A long court process is currently the only option the city has with these buildings. The hope is, the new measure gets the property owners working with the city. "To have a conversation and talk about compliance, opportunities to renovate," added Mills.
The new ordinance could apply to all properties, but the city has the discretion whether or not to assess the penalties. Gray hopes it means this building is rehabbed or demolished and that the clean up goes beyond that. "There's a lot of places in this area that need to get out of here."
Any money collected would go into the Land Management Fund to help maintain and stabilize vacant buildings the city's acquired.