Zimmerman's Bill Giving Locals More Tools to Address Blighted Properties Advances

Monday, February 12, 2024 at 2:40 PM

By State Rep. Alex Zimmerman (R-North Vernon), news release

The bill moves to the Senate for consideration.

INDIANAPOLIS - State Rep. Alex Zimmerman (R-North Vernon) said his bill to help local communities better address blighted properties recently advanced out of the Indiana House of Representatives unanimously.

"Blighted properties cause issue after issue for communities until they're either repaired or torn down, and we've seen prolonged cases where locals don't have the legal tools needed to resolve issues involving mobile or manufactured homes," Zimmerman said. "Our goal is to close a gap in state law so that locals can address these problems, which present risks and dangers to the inhabitants and those around them."

Zimmerman said the bill would not require local governments to take immediate action but would clarify what unsafe properties they can address, including manufactured and mobile homes. Specifically, the bill would make changes to the Unsafe Building Law by defining a building or structure as anything constructed with a roof and supported by columns or walls, an object that serves as a shelter or enclosure, or anything requiring to be attached to the ground.

Additionally, House Bill 1320 would raise the threshold at which local authorities may perform the work of repairing or demolishing an unsafe building themselves without having to hire a third-party contractor. Zimmerman said increasing the maximum estimated cost level from $10,000 to $25,000 would enable more communities to complete projects in-house.

"Hiring this work out can lead to increased costs and longer wait times until the job is done," Zimmerman said. "If a local government has the tools to do the job within a reasonable budget, then they should have the ability to tackle these smaller projects themselves."

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