Parkland introduces nuisance abatement program

Parkland city officials have given their tentative nod for the introduction of a nuisance abatement program that would enable city staff to enter private property and correct violations that pose a danger to public health and safety.

Officials, who tabled the ordinance once before unanimously passing it on first reading at a recent meeting, want the program to be enforced only in the case of abandoned properties. Staff will make the necessary changes before the City Commission considers the ordinance again for final approval.

The program, once introduced, will give the city another tool to correct code violations. Action will be taken only if the special magistrate decides, on hearing the case, that it warrants city intervention. The city will recoup its expenses by imposing a special assessment against the property.

Many cities in the county already have similar programs in place, said Commissioner Mark Weissman, who brought the issue up for discussion. Many home owner associations, too, have similar programs in place but haven’t been able to do much with them, he added.

Vice Mayor Christine Hunschofsky made it amply clear that she was not a big fan of the program. “We didn’t do this in the worst of times when we had many foreclosures and abandoned properties. I wonder why we are doing it now.”

Commissioner Dave Rosenof wanted the city to get involved only if the home owner association is unsuccessful in abating the nuisance. The law should apply only to abandoned properties, he said.

“We are not going to fix somebody’s property when somebody is in there,” Weissman said. “We had a situation in my district that involved an abandoned property.”

“I’m just very cautious about the doors that this could open,” Hunschofsky said. “We managed to get through a real estate decline without this.”

The city needs such a program, Commissioner Stacy Kagan said. “Safety is a very big issue. I can also understand it from the point of view of a homeowner. I think that it ( the program) is necessary.”

Coral Springs and Deerfield Beach are among the cities that have introduced nuisance abatement programs. Coral Springs also has a nuisance abatement board that mainly deals with buildings where crime and other unsavory activities take place.

Article source: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/parkland/fl-cspf-nuisance-0220-20140222,0,5726852.story?track=rss

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