Monday, August 4, 2014

Lincoln Tackling Neglected Properties

Last week, this blog looked at some ideas from fellow residents to address unkempt properties in town. 

We aren't the only community in the area looking for solutions.

Today, the Lincoln Journal Star reports on a proposed ordinance going before the Lincoln City Council.  (The story includes accompanying photos of several neglected houses.)

The Lincoln ordinance allows city inspectors to declare a vacant house a "neglected building" if it meets one of several conditions.  Then the owner would have to register the building with the city, at $500 for 90 days, and have a plan for rehabbing it. 

If the house isn’t safe to live in within 90 days, the owner has to pay another $500 registration fee.  If the owner fails to register it, the city will -- creating a $500 registration fee and a $500 civil penalty for failure to register every 90 days.  Thus the owner could accumulate $1,000 in fines and civil penalties every 90 days, up to a maximum of $4,000 a year.  

Lincoln officials took ideas for Lincoln's ordinance from half a dozen other communities.

Since the Lincoln ordinance has been carefully reviewed by attorneys to be certain it is compliant with state law, it obviously passes the smell test.  Dorchester leaders might want to consider such an ordinance for our own town.

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