City Council Hears Testimony On Abandoned Property Ordinance

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LINCOLN, Neb.-- That rag-tag house on your block that you drive by on your way to work, or you pass by when you walk your dog could soon be registered with the City of Lincoln on its way to being fixed-up.

It's an ordinance the City Council is considering changing and heard public comment on it Monday afternoon.

Frustrated neighbors of these abandoned houses testified, just about begging the City Council to pass this ordinance.

The ordinance would put a two-year limit on abandoned homes sitting there falling apart. It would allow the City to require registration at a cost of $500 for starters, plus possible additional fines, on houses after two years. That's a relief to neighbors who have been dealing with these homes for, in some cases, decades.

"My hair has turned white while I've protested this house, the red tag has turned white also," said Dick Patterson.

If the owners don't register the house or pay the fine, the City would be able to put liens on the property. There's even possible jail time for delinquent owners.

Many of the homeowners who talked Monday said they haven't been so happy with previous City actions. But, they think this ordinance really could turn around the issue.

This was just the proposal's second reading, which means that it's not a done deal.