City sets plan in motion to make landowners clean up their act

The city of Memphis is setting a new plan in motion to crack down on vacant properties within the city. The city hopes its new Neighborhood Preservation plan will put the chokehold on blight.

It forces owners of abandoned lots to clean up their act or lose their land.

Thomas Anderson has owned The Corned Beef House a decade now. He can't wait for the city's new Neighborhood Preservation Amendment to take root.

"Because really all of them aren't anything but eye sores. They're causing problems. People smoking crack up in them," says Anderson.

One abandoned home, on Jackson and Dunlap, is falling apart across the street from his business.

People stay inside the home illegally, the grass is overgrown and there was a recent fire there. The city scheduled it for condemnation.

It's owned by a man from California, so the city's having trouble cathcing up with him.

"Abandoned structures cause such a cancer in a community. Not only reducing property values and tax rates, but it also is a haven for criminal activity," says Tajuan Stout Mitchell.

Stout Mitchell is Memphis City Intergovernmental Affairs Director and she was on hand to brief the city council on the new program.

It would give code enforcement the power to deem homes like this a public nuisance. "The court would appoint a receiver, which would be a community development organization, to restore that property," she adds.

If the owner fails to reimburse the city for the cost to fix it up, in six months, the landowner loses the land.

But Anderson says he'll win back his neighborhood.

Both the city and Shelby County are adopting this amendment. The city says a thousand lots are abandoned right now across Memphis.


to email Kontji Anthony.