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Community Safety

Springfield City Council Approves New Nuisance Property Code

City of Springfield

Springfield City Council has unanimously approved a bill that city officials say puts more teeth in the Nuisance and Housing Code. 

City officials say the new code is clearer, better aligns with state law, holds property owners accountable for compliance and allows for better and more timely enforcement and abatement.

City councilman Justin Burnett said he’s excited about the new code.

"The changes proposed would align us with state law, and it's the next step in solving chronic nuisance properties," he said.

Council member Jan Fisk voted for the ordinance but expressed concern about it.

"While landlords have responsibilities, so do tenants.  Many landlords are small business owners, and I think Council should review this, I hope, in the next year to see the impact it has had on the problem we are trying to address, the impact it has had on local businesses and the impact it may have on tenants," she said.

The bill’s sponsor, Council member Phyllis Ferguson, believes it will reduce crime rates.

Under the new code, property owners will be notified of nuisances on their property. The property owners will then have 15 business days to respond to the notice or improve the condition of the property.

After 15 business days, if the property owner has not responded to the nuisance notice, the city could abate the nuisance at the owner’s expense. Costs of abatement would be recovered through assessments, real estate taxes and property liens.

The proposed code removes the tenant from the equation, as well as the requirement to hold a hearing each time a nuisance property needs to be abated.