Potential abandoned urban property ordinance reviewed in Perryville

Published 8:46 am Monday, February 5, 2018

Abandoned properties were first on the agenda in Perryville, as council members got a good look at a potential new ordinance Thursday night.

The ordinance, which will likely see first reading in March, establishes an appeal committee called the Vacant Properties Review Board. The board includes the city’s police and fire chiefs, the mayor and two volunteers from the community. Previously, community members have voiced complaints that there was not an option to appeal if their property was listed on the city’s abandoned urban property list.

Being on that list puts the property on a higher tax roll, of $2 per $100 of assessed value.

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The ordinance also establishes a timeline for the process of selecting and informing property owners.

Under the ordinance, the code enforcement officer, Perryville Fire Chief Anthony Young, is to determine which properties should be on the list by Feb. 1. This year only, the list must be complied by April 1.

The property can be selected it is has been vacant or unimproved for at least one year and:

• “Because it is dilapidated, unsanitary, unsafe, vermin-infested, or otherwise dangerous to the safety of persons, it is unfit for it’s intended use; or

• “By reason of neglect or lack of maintenance has become a place for the accumulation of trash and debris, or has become infested with rodents or other vermin; or

• “Has been tax delinquent for a period of at least three years.”

By April 1 of every year, the property owner must be notified by first-class mail; this year only, Young has until May 1.

The property owner then has 120 days to make an appeal, in writing.

Initially, said City Attorney Winfield Frankel, he had 30 days written in the ordinance, but after speaking with community members who had asked for an appeals process, realized that wouldn’t be long enough.

The ordinance then gives the owner a chance for a hearing from the Vacant Properties Review Board.

“If the board finds that the property was incorrectly classified as abandoned urban property, or that significant improvements are made or planned for the property, it shall cause the property to be removed from the list of properties so classified.”

If the board upholds the decision, the property owner also has a chance to appeal to the city council.

In other business

The board heard progress being made regarding research on a historical ordinance. The ordinance is going to cover city and Main Street Perryville properties, but will offer an option for other properties to opt-in, if owners want to.

“It’s not, ‘You have to paint your buildings purple,’ it’s ‘These are guidelines and a helpful ordinance,’” said Vicki Goode, director of Main Street Perryville, who has been part of the discussion.

No ordinance has yet been created for the city.

Also, the Future Land Use map for Perryville was discussed, which has been edited and is waiting for approval. A public meeting will be held at a later date. 

A meeting was scheduled for discussion on the zoning map of Perryville by a committee at 3 p.m. on Tuesday. After the map has been reviewed further, another public meeting will be held for community discussion and approval.

Kendra Peek/kendra.peek@amnews.com
Perryville City Council members discussed the abandoned urban property ordinance Thursday night.