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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Snatching Up Vacants on the Sly? The City Might Be Watching More Closely Soon...

Posted By on Wed, Jun 24, 2009 at 4:03 PM

When someone quietly buys a bundle of St. Louis properties to redevelop, the buildings can languish and crumble. City Hall might levy fines for code violations, but improvements come slow, if at all. And what are the neighbors supposed to do?

(This happened when McEagle grabbed a huge chunk of Old North St. Louis, and it looks like Urban Assets and some out-of-state firms are swooping in, too, according to the Post-Dispatch.)

If alderwoman Kacie Starr Triplett and her allies on the board get their way, that's all going to change.

The Neighborhood Development subcommittee will be debating a bill this afternoon that's designed to make big land-grabs more transparent. Here's how:

The bill would create a registry showing who owns which vacant buildings. It would require the owner to make someone available locally to deal with complaints. And it would also charge the owner an escalating annual fee simply for having a vacant on the property.

Excessive government meddling? Or too little, too late? Or just right?

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