The Coastal Star

Ocean Ridge: Town seeks way to address neglected homes

By Margie Plunkett

Homes that have become a nuisance because of disrepair or neglect may not be able to duck out of the expense of fixing up, under an ordinance being prepared by Ocean Ridge’s attorney.
The ordinance would allow the town to make repairs, cut lawns or otherwise correct the problem when necessary and then invoice the property owner the price of services rendered. If the owner doesn’t pay, a charge would appear on the property’s tax bill as a special assessment, according to Town Attorney Ken Spillias.
Ocean Ridge, like other municipalities, has faced a number of foreclosed and abandoned homes since the real estate market went south. The properties run the gamut of disrepair, from anything from looking ragged, to situations that pose health threats, such as uncared-for pools.
While the town often assesses a daily fine for nuisance homes that don’t correct the problem, the charge may not survive foreclosures. The assessment on the tax bill stands a stronger chance of survival than a lien, the attorney has said.
Spillias was preparing an ordinance for introduction.
Separately, Chief Police Chris Yannuzzi reported that he had learned in a telephone conversation that Ocean Ridge police voted 11-0 for representation by the Police Benevolent Association, although the town had not received official notice as of mid-December. Officers had filed for the right to collective bargaining last summer.
    The town did receive a letter from the PBA requesting that it schedule a date for the first negotiation session, Yannuzzi said, which was forwarded to the town’s labor attorney to set times.

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