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Drug use, vandalism, and other illicit activities occurring at a vacant property on Southeast Salmon Street in Portland's Mill Park neighborhood has raised concern among area residents. A new city effort called the Extremely Distressed Property Enforcement Program would provide the Bureau of Development Services with the necessary funding to demolish problem properties that have been abandoned or foreclosed upon.
Posted: Wednesday, 04 June 2014 4:17PM

Proposed vacant property ordinance nearing passage

The Leitchfield City Council is on the verge of enacting a Vacant Property Ordinance, aimed at establishing a vacant residential property registration and maintenance program. City officials wish to use the program as a “mechanism to protect neighborhoods and minimize hazards to persons and property as a result of the vacancy,” states the proposed ordinance.

The ordinance reads in part:
  • Whereas, the presence of vacant residential property may constitute a threat in the public health, general welfare and safety of the residents of the City of Leitchfield; and
  • Whereas, the substantial and inordinate number of vacant properties are the result of foreclosure of properties by “Creditors” as hereafter defined; and
  • Whereas, the presence of vacant residential property may depreciate property values and contribute to the deterioration of surrounding neighborhoods; and
  • Whereas, the presence of vacant residential property may necessitate expensive and disproportionate expenditure of public funds for the preservation of the property, prevention of crime and maintenance of adequate police, fire and accident protection.

The ordinance describes “Vacant” as a “residential property with no legal resident or tenant. Evidence of vacancy includes any condition that, on its own, or combined with other conditions present, would lead a reasonable person to believe that the property is vacant. Such conditions include but are not limited to overgrown or dead vegetation, accumulation of fliers, mail, or trash, disconnected utilities, the absence of window coverings or furniture, and statements by neighbors, delivery persons or government employees.”

The ordinance requires registration of vacant properties with the City of Leitchfield in the following manner:
  • “If a residential property becomes vacant at any time after a creditor files a complaint of foreclosure or executes a deed in lieu of foreclosure, but prior to vesting of title in the creditor or a third party, the creditor shall, within 10 business days after obtaining knowledge of the vacancy, register the property as vacant property with the City of Leitchfield by filing registration information with the City Clerk’s Office of the City of Leitchfield.”

If a property owner (creditor) fails to comply with the proposed ordinance, “A notice of violation shall include a description of the conditions that give rise to the violation, and provide a period of not less than twenty days from the creditor’s receipt of the notice for the creditor to timely remedy the violation.”

The ordinance’s proposed enforcement section states:
  • “If the creditor fails to remedy the violation within the stated period, the city may issue a citation and impose penalties against the creditor for violations of any ordinance regulating a nuisance as well a violation of this ordinance.”

The enforcement section of the proposed Ordinance continues:
  • “Any creditor that fails to register vacant residential property with the city, or shall violate the terms of this ordinance, shall be guilty of a violation as defined in the Kentucky Revised Statutes.:

Leitchfield City Attorney Kenneth F. Smart read the proposed Ordinance at Monday night’s city council meeting. The second reading of the Ordinance, and a vote on its passage, will be conducted at the Leitchfield City Council’s next scheduled meeting which takes place on June 16 at City Hall.

Filed Under :  
Topics : Law_Crime
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Locations : LeitchfieldLeitchfield City
People : Kenneth F. Smart
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