Vacant properties and blighted areas are growing concerns for city and town officials anxious to keep their communities vibrant and viable. But the legislature passed a law last year (PA 13-132) that should result in giving municipal leaders a hand on how to effectively deal with blight.
New Task Force
Prior to the new law, there was no apparent statewide system to account for blighted areas and buildings in Connecticut. The law set up a task force to identify how cities and towns can combat blight and promote local economic development.
The Task Force to Examine Procedural Problems in Addressing Blight at the Municipal Level, composed of legislators, business leaders, planning and development professionals and attorneys, began meeting last fall and is in the process of submitting their recommendations to the Planning and Development Committee.
The task force has focused on establishing an anti-blight code on a statewide level, providing anti-blight funding to Connecticut’s municipalities and towns, and strengthening current local municipal enforcement efforts.
Specific suggestions include:
- Adopt a statewide minimum anti-blight code based on the International Property Maintenance Code
- Create or designate two state-funded revolving loan programs
- Codify a long standing and common municipal enforcement practice of filing a copy of a duly issued order by a fire marshal, building official, health director, housing and blight official, zoning officer, or other official on the municipal records for the subject premises
- Provide municipal code enforcement officials an easier path to law enforcement and motor vehicle records in order to locate a nonresponsive or absentee owner of property subject to enforcement action by a state or municipal agency.
With the 2014 legislative session just underway, the Blight Task Force’s Recommendations are expected to be reviewed by the Planning and Development Committee with a nod toward developing legislation.
For more information, contact Faith Gavin Kuhn at firstname.lastname@example.org.