Anti-blight laws arm cities
LANSING — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed laws strengthening penalties against owners of blighted property.
The laws signed Wednesday put more teeth in a 2003 law, by letting cities with anti-blight bureaus pursue criminal charges against people who owe unpaid blight fines and costs.
The laws bills are meant to help Detroit and other cities clean up neighborhoods full of dilapidated houses, junked cars, trash and uncut weeds.
They let cities refuse to re-zone blighted properties or give building permits to their owners who have outstanding fines.
City officials could garnish wages for blight violations and put a lien on blighted properties.
More than eyesores
Snyder said blight isn't just a visual problem, but also reduces property values and threatens public safety.
The main bill was sponsored by Democratic Sen. Virgil Smith of Detroit.