Tampa city council wants to crack down on code violators - WFLA News Channel 8

Tampa city council wants to crack down on code violators

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Dilapidated mansion on Davis Islands Dilapidated mansion on Davis Islands
The Tampa city council has heard concerns from residents across the city. They often complain there isn't enough being done about dilapidated, abandoned, or foreclosed homes. In all, there are more than 6,000 such properties in Tampa.

Leland Dicus lives across the street from a falling-down mansion on Davis Islands. He told News Channel 8 last week the home needs to be torn down.

"It's very dangerous. It's a public nuisance," he said. "I really hope the code board does the right thing."

Related content: Davis Islands mansion turned eyesore slated for demolition

Dealing with these properties can often pose a challenge. The owners may be out of state, or it could be lingering in a lengthy foreclosure process.

Council member Harry Cohen understands the frustrations. That's why the city council voted last Thursday to have the city attorney draw up a new repeat offender ordinance. Cohen said it would give code enforcement rules more teeth.

"Basically, if you have three violations in one calendar year on a piece of property, you would have to go to a judge and explain why it wasn't fixed," Cohen explained.

The new ordinance would be aimed at cracking down on chronic code violators and properties that pose a risk.

"We're talking about illegal construction. We're talking about illegal dumping," Cohen said. "We're talking about unsafe conditions where things are broken, where things are in disrepair."

Once the ordinance is written, council members will have time to review the provisions before moving forward.

"We're hoping through the new repeat offender program, that we'll be able to bring these matters to conclusion much faster and have real results that actually have some teeth in them," Cohen said.

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