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Attorney Bishop Briefs Ste. Gen. Aldermen On Nuisance Properties In Work Session

In work sessions that lasted nearly an hour before and more than half an hour after the regular open meeting last Thursday night, the Ste. Genevieve Board of Aldermen learned about the need for a Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP) and heard city attorney Mark Bishop’s take on how to approach nuisance properties, in addition to considering the vacant director of tourism position.

Bishop discussed with the board the problem of nuisance properties, which has been a topic of conversation for more than two years.

He began by listing the various statutes and ordinances that give the city authority to take action on nuisance properties.

A “reasonable effort” must be made to notify owners of nuisance or dangerous buildings.

The board voted on — and ultimately passed on first reading — three different related bills during the regular meeting that evening. One addressed “dangerous buildings” and “pre-HUD” mobile homes [built before June 15, 1976], another dealt with definitions of dangerous buildings, and the third covered an 18-page addition of International Residential Building Code requirements into the local building regulations.

“With the dangerous building ordinance, it’s a little bit more specific,” Bishop said in answer to a question on foreclosed properties. “You have to provide notice to every person or every entity that has interest in the real estate, so that would include a bank that has a deed of trust. That’s why I really want a letter from a title company.”

A bank or other note holder, he explained, would be entitled to know about plans for demolition, since the removal of the building could affect the property’s value “either positively or negatively.”

Bishop stressed the seriousness of the ground on which they were treading.

“It’s a very important power of the city and a significant power of a municipality to go on someone’s property and tear down a building,” he said. “That’s why we have these protections.”

The hearings give the property owners a chance to make their cases to the Board of Aldermen.

See complete story in the November 20 edition of the Herald.

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