What To Do About Blight? Virginia Localities’ Blight Toolbox


Looks like blight. Or is it? And what can a locality do about it?

One of the problem issues for Virginia local governments and their officials and employees across the state is how to deal with blight. Such structures, singular or in groups, can become a large problem to a community. Often, historic structures fall victim to lack of maintenance, or neighborhoods suffer because of harmful and dangerous conditions. Fortunately, there are a number of tools localities can use to address blight in their communities.

The tools can be broken down into three groups, based upon what conditions (and preconditions) exist.

I. Tools available if a blighted structure presents an “imminent and immediate threat to the health, safety or welfare of the general public:”

(A) Tool # 1 — If the locality has adopted Part III of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Maintenance Code (the “Property Maintenance Code”), the local building officials can authorize emergency repairs to or demolition of the blighted property and recover the cost of abatement from the owner of the blighted structure. In emergency situations, the official can even authorize repairs to make the structure temporarily safe or even demolish structures under certain circumstances.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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