Youngstown using spot blight program to target neglected properties

The city of Youngstown targets blight with a spot blight elimination program.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The city of Youngstown took a drastic step this week in the fight against blight.

An example of that action is a house on Glenwood Avenue. The owner has ignored every summons the city has sent for code violations. After five years of neglect, the city is taking action using spot blight elimination, which allows the city to offer market value for the property. If the owner turns down the city’s offer, the property will be seized.

Funds to purchase the house comes from the city’s budget.

The house on Glenwood is just one of hundreds of houses in the city owned by people who live in other states or countries. The Glenwood house is owned by a limited liability company out of Texas.

The targeted houses for spot blight elimination are ones that are left vacant and are not maintained. They are eventually torn down at taxpayer’s expense.

Some of the houses are located in the Handel’s neighborhood. Ian Beniston with the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation (YNDC) said his group has been keeping an eye on the properties.

“Some of the census tracks a quarter of the parcels owned are by out of town owners and investors,” Beniston said.

According to YNDC, Spot Blight is to be used on seriously deteriorated properties in stable and/ or functional market areas. The use of spot blight can compel an owner to make needed repairs or risk losing their property.

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