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Proposed Petersburg tax would target derelict properties: 'Fix it up or sell it'

If the bill becomes law, it will also be available for use in Hopewell and Emporia.
Posted at 7:16 PM, Feb 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-21 19:21:07-05

PETERSBURG, Va. -- A newly proposed bill in Petersburg aims to encourage owners of unsightly abandoned homes and buildings to either fix them, sell them, or pay an extra tax.

Petersburg resident Bobby Milford has good reason to love his historic home on High Street.

Milford said he loves the whole neighborhood, "except of course the house next door."

Wedged between two well maintained historic homes is an abandoned property and quickly deprecating property.

"This is bad, there's no other way to talk about it, I mean you can see, it's falling down."

Milford said that for five years, little to nothing has been done to the property "We mowed the yard, the first year we were here, just to keep it nice," Millford said. "It is tough, because it de-values our home."

But Petersburg City Councilman Howard Myers came up with a plan to address blighted property which has now morphed in House Bill 755.

"What we're trying to do is get them to pass this bill, to allow the City of Petersburg to add 5 to 10 percent on Blighted Properties,” Councilman Myers said.

If it becomes lay, it is not designed as a revenue stream.

"Well here is a tax where you can apply to these homes, in which they have to pay, you either pay, fix it up or sale," Myers explained.

The blight bill is not just aimed at houses.

"It doesn't look good, it makes the City look bad,” said Jennifer Moore, who co-owns a business whose property is adjacent to the empty Ramada Hotel, what may be the largest blighted property in the City

"I think it's wonderful,” Moore said in reference to HB 755. “Because then it's going to make help the City clean things up and either it will hit them in the pocket book or they'll have to do something about it, sell it, or whatever."

If the bill becomes law, it will also be available for use in Hopewell and Emporia.