Neighborhood nuisance properties under fire


A new tool against drug houses, party houses and other such problems is taking shape.

A city council committee on Wednesday advanced an ordinance to create a board to deal with “chronic nuisance” properties.

The stronger attack would replace a seldom used law passed in 2008, said Councilman Scott Wagner, who introduced the new ordinance.

committee 3Under the existing law, properties with five police complaints in 30 days can be referred to a city director, trigger a hearing and an only possible remedy of closing or boarding up the properties.

Under the change, a seven-member board would handle the matter and could take a wide variety of actions after three police calls in 30 days or seven in six weeks.

The new approach is used successfully in other cities and allows a wide variety of unified city responses, said Mike Schumacher, assistant to the city manager.

Usually the matter does not go to the board, he said, because abatement action is taken after notice goes to the property owners and occupants.

City code enforcement, liquor control and other departments can play roles in applying pressure and solutions, he said.

Chronic nuisance properties are found citywide, especially on the east side, officials said.

They involve repeated police complaints about drugs, guns, prostitution, alcohol, disorderly conduct, assault and other offenses.

The ordinance suggests that people appointed to the new board come from law enforcement, the legal profession, real estate profession, neighborhood associations, landlord associations, tenant associations and the community at large.

The ordinance goes before the full council next week for possible final passage.


  1. Joe Montanari says:

    This is a great idea. The 2008 ordinance was a step in the right direction, but it was too weak.

  2. Dina Lester says:

    The city doesn’t follow up in any other housing violations, so seeing is believing when they have had the law since 2008 and just now going to “enforce” it.

  3. Guietta Payne says:

    We will watch and see if the city will follow through. It seems that the city will buy some teeth (an ordinance), but are too scared to bite (enforce it). We will see how it works. Hopefully it will work better than the city nuisance codes. I have watched a house continually fall done, literally, and nothing has been done. I guess the city is waiting for it to just fall on its own. Give it a bad winter day and the city will get its wish.

  4. Kerry Davis says:

    It would be nice if the land bank would take care of their properties that are nuisances. We live next to one. They told us after taking us to housing court for a small patch of peeling paint that they don’t have the money to take care of all the houses. But he said that owners have to take care of theirs. So its ok for these hundreds of houses to sit vacant attracting issues around the area but they are not held to the same standard because “the city is not able to take care of them because they don’t have enough money.” God Bless Kissick Construction for demolishing some at no cost to anyone except them. At least they are willing to step up and help the community, It is not gone unnoticed how they are trying to help

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