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Archived News

Anti-Blight Bill Picks Up Support in Assembly

The Virginian-Pilot
January 30, 2009
By Dave Forster

RICHMOND -- Progress has been made toward saving an anti-blight bill favored by city leaders in Hampton Roads.

The legislation had little if any opposition until this past week, when property-rights advocates began a campaign against it.

Bryan Pennington, Norfolk’s director of intergovernmental relations, said Friday afternoon that an amendment was in the works that he expected to please both sides. Stephen Clarke, an attorney with Waldo & Lyle, confirmed the progress. The Norfolk law firm specializes in property rights and was one of the critics that had spoken against the bill.

The legislation would allow cities to offer tax abatements to induce people to renovate or remove derelict buildings.

Clarke said the proposed amendment addresses concerns over the definition of a derelict building, which under the original bill was anything that might endanger the public’s health, safety or welfare and is boarded up, vacant and disconnected to utilities for six months.

Pennington said he expected the House version of the bill, HB1671, to go to a floor vote Monday.