Sacramento Considers Vacant Lot Registry

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Sacramento city leaders are considering new rules to crack down on owners of vacant lots, which are often overgrown with weeds and hit hard by illegal dumping.

Right now, the city will come in and clean up a blighted property if it gets a complaint, but sometimes there’s difficulty tracking down owners to send them the bill. Now, the city wants to try getting that information upfront, before the complaints come in.

Cynthia Bremmium has lived in her Oak Park home for three years and says the vacant lot next door is a hot spot for problems.

“The homeless people come over there, sleep over there and they dump over there,” she says.

Bremmium is also concerned about her three children.

“I tell hem not to go back there and getting hurt,” she says.

It’s one of 6,000 vacant lots in Sacramento — a problem that generates constant complaints to code enforcement officers.

“They’re just a blight on the neighborhood,” said Sacramento City Councilman Jay Schenirer.

He says it’s often difficult to track down the owners.

“We have a lot of property owners who may be out of town.  We have corporations or different kinds of front organizations that own those lots,” he said.

So, Schenirer is considering a new law which would require vacant lot owners to register with the city.

“If we have people fill out some kind of form or permit that they have to file every year on this, like a business permit, we’ll know who they are and we’ll know who to go to when there’s a challenge,” he said.

Here’s how the proposed new rules would work:

Property owners who’ve been cited in the past would have to pay an annual registration fee, have a local representative to address problems, and post a sign with their contact information.

“That’s good because they need to keep the lot clean,” said Bremmium.

The city hopes these new measures will encourage owners to take more responsibility.

“If you’re not going to do what you should do, then the city will have to do it for you and charge you,” said Schenirer.

Cities like San Francisco already have similar programs in place.  Owners who don’t comply could receive criminal, civil, and administrative penalties.

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