With thousands of properties caught in a three-year legal holding pattern, Baton Rouge, La., and other officials across the state want the New Orleans treatment on dealing with blight.
New Orleans already secured a state constitutional amendment speeding up the process for disposing of blighted or abandoned property. Owners get 18 months – instead of three years – to redeem, or reclaim, the property by paying purchase price, costs, penalties and interest.
Other municipalities also want to accelerate the process for dealing with unsightly, sometimes rat-infested property. But they will have to wait awhile longer.
The Advocate reports House Speaker Chuck Kleckley launched an effort to hold a statewide election this fall, but it failed because statewide elections cost taxpayers $6 million.
House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, launched an effort to hold a statewide election this fall, but it failed because statewide elections cost taxpayers $6 million.
Walter Monsour, executive director of the East Baton Rouge Parish Redevelopment Authority, said a coalition of cities supported the decrease in redemption period for blighted and abandoned properties.
He said municipalities are thrown into limbo when a property is declared adjudicated, a legal term that comes into play when taxes aren’t paid. He said the municipality holds the property, but cannot dispose of it until the redemption period expires.
“City-parish has to maintain, cut the grass on them, keep them clean … with no ability to do anything with that property for three years,” Monsour said.
Louisiana law defines what constitutes a blighted or abandoned property.
Blighted means the premises are “vacant, uninhabitable, and hazardous and because of their physical condition, are considered hazardous to persons or property.”
Abandoned means property is vacant or not lawfully occupied.
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