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Sen. Tate Sponsors Healthy Neighborhoods Bill

Press Release from Sen. Reginald Tate, D-Memphis, March 17, 2010:

Legislation Would Allow Community Groups To Clean Blighted Properties

NASHVILLE – Neighborhood groups and community organizations will be allowed to clean up blighted and abandoned properties under a bill passed 29-0 Wednesday in the state Senate by Sen. Reginald Tate of Memphis.

“This bill gives neighborhoods a greater opportunity to clean up neglected properties, making our communities safer and more beautiful,” Tate said. “Our neighborhood associations and community organizations will be able to take care of these bad properties quickly, and absentee owners will be billed accordingly.”

Under the bill (SB2983), community organizations like school clubs, church youth groups and neighborhood associations can request permission from the county to clean up overgrown properties. Property owners will have to pay the community organizations for the services, just as they would if the county cleaned up.

A lien will be placed on the property until the owner pays the groups back for the service they provided. For the worst offenders, the county can acquire the property under eminent domain, just as it can under present law.

“I believe in property rights for responsible property owners, but when owners aren’t responsible, they lose their rights,” Tate said. “A clean neighborhood is a safe neighborhood, and residents deserve both.”

The House version of the bill is in subcommittee.