Blight Assistance for Communities Considered in Senate Committee

Posted on May 25, 2012 by Dene Westbrook

The Senate Judiciary Committee this week took testimony on a bi-partisan package of bills that will provide local units of government with more tools to address blight.  The bills would do the following:

          Senate Bill 1096 would allow cities that use administrative hearings bureau to adjudicate blight violations to establish additional civil and criminal penalties on a person who committed a blight violation and failed to pay a fine and costs of $1,000 or more. It would also lower the minimum population to be eligible to have an administrative hearings bureau from 2.0 million to 1.5 million for a county containing a city with a population of 3,300 or more.

           Senate Bill 1097 would amend the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act to allow a city zoning ordinance to provide that a person would be ineligible for rezoning, site approval, or other zoning authorization if the person were delinquent in paying a fine or costs for a blight violation.

          Senate Bill 1098 would amend the Single State Construction Code Act to allow a city to provide by ordinance that a person would be ineligible for a building permit, certificate of use and occupancy, or a variance if the person were delinquent in paying a fine or costs for a blight violation.

          Senate Bill 1099 would amend the Revised Judicature Act to allow a city to file a garnishment action if a fine or costs were ordered for a blight violation.

          Senate Bill 1100 would amend the Home Rule City Act to allow a lien against property involved in a blight violation to be foreclosed in a city’s administrative hearings bureau.

The League provided support for these bills as new tools that local units of government can use when trying to address blight.  Some questions arose regarding concerns raised by County Registers of Deeds and the Michigan Bankers Association, and those issues will be worked out with the sponsors of the legislation. The committee did not indicate when these bills would again be up for consideration or a vote.

Andy Schor is the Assistant Director of State Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. Contact him at (517) 908-0300 or by email at [email protected].

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