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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE City Council at its Monday night meeting will hear a second reading and vote on a bill that City staff think is the next step in addressing chronic nuisance properties in Springfield. At a series of nine listening meetings in Springfield’s northwest quadrant in May, Zone 1 residents made it clear that they are concerned about chronic nuisance properties (vacant or poorly maintained properties with overgrown yards, trash and abandoned cars). “What became very apparent as a result of these Community Listen meetings, is that we need more teeth in our City ordinances when it comes to nuisance properties,” said City Planning & Development Manager Brendan Griesemer. At its May 26 meeting, City Council took the first step in dealing with problem properties by unanimously passing an ordinance to create a series of penalties for property owners that continue to fail to maintain their property, to make clarifying changes concerning special tax bills and additions to real-estate-tax bills, and to codify due-process-of-law provisions for enforcement actions. Sponsored by Zone 1 Councilwoman Phyllis Ferguson, Council Bill 2015-177, if approved Monday night, will replace the existing Chapter 74 Nuisance and Housing Code with code that is more clear, better aligns with state law, holds property owners responsible for compliance and allows for better and more timely enforcement and abatement. According to the proposed code, property owners will be notified (by mail or in person and by a notice posted on the property) of nuisances on their property. The property owner 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 can then abate the nuisance at the owner’s expense. Costs of abatement will 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, i.e., mowing tall grass or removing trash or abandoned vehicles from a property. ### For more information, contact: Cora Scott, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement, 417-864-1009 (office) | 417-380-3352 (cell), [email protected]