blighted-houses

JENNINGS — The Jennings City Council took steps Tuesday to target property owners who do not maintain their grass and to condemn several adjudicated properties.

The council unanimously adopted an ordinance that will allow the City's Inspector Office to notify violators of the city's grass cutting ordinance more timely and expedite the notification process.

"This is a procedure that will help expedite the process of notifying residents that they are not in compliance for tall grass, unsightly grass or vegetation," Mayor Henry Guinn said.

City attorney Kevin Millican said the measure will streamline the process for the City Inspector's Office by allowing them to send a notice out without having to do it over and over again.

"A lot of times they have the same people or the same properties that are not in compliance, and we have to send out notices multiple times," Millican said. "This will allow them to send it out, take action and proceed in a much more efficient manner."

The current city code requires a property owner to be given 10 days to correct a violation for a first offense and five days for a second offense. Notifications are made via certified letters, which are costly to the city, Guinn said.

Under the new code, property owners will be notified by a notice in the legal journal or a certified letter and be given five days to correct the problem before the city takes action. If the city has to cut or remove grass, weeds, trash and other harmful or unhealthy items, the property owner will be charged. If the cost is not paid within 10 days, a second notice will be sent giving the property owner a month to send the payment before the cost is placed on the tax roll.

In other matters, the council moved forward on the demolish and clean up of three properties adjudicated to the parish and city. The properties include an old convenience store and club located at 823 S. Main Street and two homes located at 507 Wilbert D. Rochelle Avenue and 819 Lucas Street.

The properties are considered blight by the city and are used for illicit activities, including drugs, Guinn said.

The city is expected to spend about $24,000 to remove the three structures and clean up the properties with a goal that the cleared properties will be resold and put back into production, he said.

The properties were adjudicated to the parish and city after no bids were received in a tax sale.

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