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New Cincy plan to reduce neighborhood blight

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Cincinnati Council could vote in a few weeks on a proposal that would let the city do a better job with litter and weed enforcement in the city's neighborhoods.  

Mayor John Cranley announced the plan Friday in Price Hill after a task force spent several months developing it.

"A vast majority of homeowners and residents work diligently to beautify their communities," Cranley said in a statement. "Unfortunately, there are some absentee landlords who cause real problems for them.  Those landlords don't keep their yards cut and clean of junk, which harms the quality of life and can lessen the property values of an entire street.”

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Litter and trash near a home on Rosemont Avenue that Cincinnati officials are using as an example to enhance blight removal efforts.

Provisions in Mayor Cranley’s proposal, called the private lot abatement program, include:

  • Reducing the height requirement required for citing overgrown weeds from 10 inches to 6 inches.
  • Increasing the fines and fees for overgrown weeds and litter for repeat offenders, ranging from $500 to $2,500.
  • Empowering community partners, such as community councils, to abate weed and litter violations on behalf of the City of Cincinnati.  The cost of such action will be owed by the lot owners.
  • Pursuing unpaid fines and fees by using property liens and court judgments against repeat offenders.
  • Using modern technology to more efficiently cite and track owners who do not maintain their properties.

Cranley said the city wants to increase its abatement activity.  The goal is to clean 1,000 lots per year.  Right now the city does about 350 per year. 
The city has received more than 27,000 complaints about blight since 2012.
 

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.