Dealing with blighted properties can be a lengthy and complex process for those who are unfamiliar. Local Blighted Property Committees, established to aid residents and municipalities, have developed a program to address attractive nuisances within the area.
Alan Gustafson, building code official for the city, mentioned that the city committee has not had to meet since April or May due to the success of its prior actions.
The first step to all resolutions is local whether it is internal awareness by the committee or a residential issue reported by a concerned citizen. Residents with concerns about vacant and dilapidated structures are encouraged to follow the process outlined by the Blighted Property Committees.
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The 102 Cottage Place property located in Russell is the most recent property to be handled by local Blighted Property Committees. After a unanimous vote designated it a blighted property, the Redevelopment Authority will determine the next course of action.
- Report any unsafe, vacated homes to the local municipality to determine whether they are a part of the Council of Governments to which 22 of the 27 counties belong.
- The municipality will then identify and notify the owner of the structure in an effort to resolve the situation at a local level.
- If a resolution is not reached, the process will proceed to the Blighted Properties Review Committee who will also attempt to contact the owner and resolve the issue.
- If a solution still has yet to be found, the County Planning and Zoning Commission takes over. After reviewing the steps taken by the previous two committees, future use and zoning are determined before sending the property on to the Redevelopment Authority.
-The final step for a resolution is reached through Redevelopment Law in which the Authority determines a use for the property at large.
County Planning Director Dan Glotz reports 19 cases of blighted properties since the county committee's founding in 2008. Of those 19 cases, 12 have already been resolved, some even at the local level, in addition to a few more that are in the process of reaching a resolution.
"The process has worked very well and was modeled after the city's," noted Glotz before stressing that, "when residents of a community want to initiate a resolution, go to local official first." By turning to local officials first, the process is handled most effectively.