Derelict property ordinance approved

Published 9:37 am Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Compared to the attention Franklin residents have been giving to City Council’s debate over how best to provide relief to those facing high February electric bills, few may have noticed the quiet passing of the council’s derelict property ordinance, which was approved by a 5-2 vote on Feb. 12.

Mayor Frank Rabil explained that the punitive parts of the original ordinance had been removed, leaving only the incentives for homeowners to fix up their properties, these being expedited and potentially refunded work permits and real estate tax abatements.

He also affirmed that the city does not desire to tear down any properties and that the Code of Virginia contains the exact same ordinance.

Despite Rabil’s reassurances, Councilman Linwood Johnson said he still felt that the ordinance was an overregulation of the city’s existing ordinance concerning unsafe properties. He and Councilman Greg McLemore were the two dissenting votes on the motion to approve the ordinance.