“Good samaritans in Ohio may be getting a reprieve from potential misdemeanor charges.
Today the state House is voting on a bill that would allow people to clean up vacant, blighted properties without fear of a trespassing charge. This measure essentially gives residents more power to improve their neighborhoods, harnessing NIMBY instincts for good. From The Columbus Dispatch:
Some residents hesitate to take care of the properties around them because they risk trespassing charges, said Tiffany Sokol, office manager of the nonprofit Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp., which boards up and cleans up vacant properties. The bill would allow individuals to clean up blighted land or buildings that have clearly been abandoned.
“Very ugly, nasty places,” [said Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D), the bill’s sponsor]. “These properties are an eyesore, a danger to their neighbors.”
The Rust Belt is only getting rustier, and Ohio communities have tried a number of strategies to fight neighborhood blight. Yesterday, The Columbus Dispatch and a city website published the names of negligent owners of more than 100 blighted properties. The city called it a fight for neighborhoods.
City Attorney Richard C. Pfeiffer Jr. said anything is worth a try.
“If it gets their attention, good,” he said.
In Cleveland, officials are rehabbing the shrunken city by aggressively tearing down houses, not fixing them up.
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