Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New Port Richey moves to crack down on nuisance properties

NEW PORT RICHEY — City leaders took a step toward getting tougher on landlords who allow drug dealing, prostitution and gang activity to repeatedly take place on their properties.

Council members on Tuesday unanimously approved a first reading of a new nuisance abatement ordinance that will allow the city to go after property owners with fines, liens and even business closures when criminal activity mounts at a particular site. A second vote will take place in two weeks.

The program will fall under the auspices of a new special magistrate system the city is also in the process of installing. The council also passed a first reading Tuesday of an ordinance establishing the magistrate system.

In addition to nuisance abatement violations, New Port Richey is also looking at using the magistrate down the road for animal control, code enforcement and red light camera hearings.

The nuisance abatement ordinance will allow the city manager to bring a complaint against an owner of a property where two or more criminal violations have occurred within a six-month period. A hearing would then be held to allow the property owner to present a defense.

If the magistrate finds with the city, fines not exceeding $250 a day can be levied, liens can be placed on the property and closures of any business entities can be ordered. If an owner is not aware of criminal activity on his or her property, or it's being caused by renters, the ordinance allows owners 60 days to evict problem tenants without penalty.

For Council member Jeff Starkey, who made enacting a nuisance abatement program a cornerstone of his campaign this year, the new ordinance can't take effect soon enough.

Starkey specifically railed against motels along U.S. 19 where drug dealing and prostitution are rampant and said the ordinance should serve as notice that the city won't put up with it anymore.

"It's a huge, huge step," Starkey said.

In other law enforcement news, the City Council also approved the first reading of an ordinance that would allow New Port Richey to get into the vehicle impoundment business. Currently, if the city tows a vehicle, the tow truck company takes it away to a private impound lot and imposes fees.

Should the ordinance pass in two weeks, the New Port Richey Police Department would be allowed to operate its own impound lot and collect fees for the storage and recovery of towed vehicles.

New Port Richey moves to crack down on nuisance properties 06/07/13 [Last modified: Friday, June 7, 2013 12:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
  2. No lack of issues facing St. Petersburg's six council candidates

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG — The six candidates for City Council gathered Monday evening in the very chamber to which they aspire to serve.

    St. Petersburg City Council candidates (from left)  Brandi Gabbard and Barclay Harless in District 2; Jerick Johnston and incumbent council member Darden Rice in District 4; and Justin Bean and Gina Driscoll of District 6. All six candidates appeared at Monday night's forum at City Hall sponsored by the League of Women Voters. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]

  3. Iraq's Kurds vote on independence, raising regional fears

    World

    IRBIL, Iraq — Iraqi Kurds voted Monday in a landmark referendum on supporting independence, a move billed by the Kurdish leadership as an exercise in self-determination but viewed as a hostile act by Iraq's central government. Neighboring Turkey even threatened a military response.

    People celebrate Monday after voting closed in a referendum on independence in Irbil, Iraq.
  4. North Korean diplomat says Trump has 'declared war'

    War

    UNITED NATIONS — North Korea's top diplomat said Monday that President Donald Trump's weekend tweet was a "declaration of war" and North Korea has the right to retaliate by shooting down U.S. bombers, even in international airspace.

    North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, center, speaks outside the U.N. Plaza Hotel in New York on Monday.
  5. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]