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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Supervisors adopt new rules on blight

A blighted house in Fairfax County [Department of Code Compliance photo.]

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved new rules that allow the county to repair blighted homes at the owner’s expense. The county can also impose liens to cover the cost of repairs.

Under previous rules, the county had the authority to demolish, but not repair, homes that had been declared blighted.

The BoS also at its Dec. 2 meeting repealed provisions it had adopted in 1996 that imposed a more stringent definition of blight than required under state law.

Those provisions required a property to meet all of these conditions to be considered blighted: vacant and boarded up for at least one year, subject to complaints, no longer maintained for useful occupancy, and dilapidated or lacking in normal maintenance or upkeep. According to the BoS, the county now has more flexibility to deal with blighted properties.

In a related action, Fairfax County strengthened its rules for public health and safety menaces. The new rules cover dilapidated buildings at risk of a partial or complete collapse; unsecured, vacant buildings; and buildings that are a danger to life or public welfare or both.

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