Councilmember Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Tim Burgess
Council Committees pass anti-crime measures
Legislation aimed at making neighborhoods safer
SEATTLE – Two Council committees voted this week on legislation to improve neighborhood safety.
The Council’s Planning, Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee voted this morning to amend the land use code to allow expedited demolition of derelict properties that too often become magnets for criminal behavior in neighborhoods. Council Bill 116642 provides an exception to city land use laws requiring plans and permits for replacement structures before demolition is allowed in single-family zones.
Unfortunately, poorly maintained buildings can become harbors for illicit and even dangerous activities,” explained Councilmember Sally Clark, “Our neighborhoods need a built environment that encourages safe and healthy communities.”
On Tuesday, the Public Safety, Human Services and Education Committee approved legislation that allows the city to take action against property owners who knowingly permit repeated criminal activity on their premises. The Chronic Nuisance Property ordinance (Council Bill 116667) establishes clear criteria for a determination of nuisance by the court and a step-by-step process for the city to work with property owners to abate the nuisance. Owners will be subject to civil penalties of up to $500 per day as long as the nuisance continues, along with suspension or revocation of any business license associated with the property and an additional fine of up to $25,000 if they do not cooperate.
“These two ordinances are major steps forward in our efforts to make our neighborhoods safer,” said Councilmember Tim Burgess. “The Chronic Nuisance Property ordinance gives the city a well-defined mandate to identify problem properties that harm our neighborhoods. This new law will be a very effective crime-fighting tool in our belt.”
The Full Council will consider the Chronic Nuisance Property ordinance on Monday, Nov. 30. Derelict housing legislation will go before Full Council on the following Monday, Dec 7.
Council meetings are cablecast live on Seattle Channel 21 and Webcast live on the City Council’s website at http://www.seattle.gov/council/. Copies of legislation, archives of previous meetings, and news releases are available on http://www.seattle.gov/council/. Follow the Council on Twitter at twitter.com and on Facebook at Seattle City Council.