Harrisonburg City Council Looks at Blighted Properties

HARRISONBURG-- The City Council is now examining blighted properties that are most likely abandoned and aren't being taken care of. The city council is moving one step forward to being able to buy those types of property, so they can be improved and resold to people who would take care of them.

Mayor Richard Baugh said this has been an issue for several years for the City Council. Now, they are entering the nuts and bolts of the operation, he said. This has been an issue for several years for the city council.

The council asked staff to prepare a spot blight ordinance. Baugh couldn't give out specific addresses of properties they were interested in, but said the northeast part of the city has some properties they have been looking at.

The city would only try to buy the houses as a last resort. Living near blighted houses can bring property values down and can invite people who don't live there to start hanging out around them, making it harder to police.

"I hope we'll at least spot blight provision, and at least put that in our arsenal as something else that we can use to try to deal with problems like this, as is the case here, when you've got neighbors coming to elected officials and saying what are you going to do about this problem in our neighborhood," said Baugh.

The council will still have to review the ordinance before it becomes law, but this is a legislative step. The city is using Winchester for guidance in getting this done. The law there has been successful in fighting the problem.


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