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City council stalls Delaware mayor’s anti-blight proposal

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(AP) — A Delaware mayor’s proposal to impose liens and sheriff sales on vacant and blighted properties has stalled.

The News Journal of Wilmington reports that Mayor Mike Purzycki’s proposal failed to advance on Monday, as Wilmington City Council members and residents expressed concerns. Members voted to hold the legislation for further deliberation.

The legislation would convert housing code enforcement from a criminal to a civil matter. Wilmington’s Department of Licenses and Inspections Commissioner Jeffrey Starkey says allowing properties to remain in the hands of irresponsible owners hurts the city and attracts crime.

The legislation does not specify a timeline, number of violations or threshold of fines that would trigger a sheriff sale.

Residents expressed fear that the city would be empowered to seize property for development over minor violations.

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