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Phoenix considers registry for vacant properties to address blight, crime

By Christina Estes
Published: Monday, May 8, 2023 - 8:26am
Updated: Monday, May 8, 2023 - 11:26am

Devin Breinholt
A cracked picture frame attached to a wall at a former Village Inn in Phoenix on Feb. 15, 2022.

Phoenix may start requiring owners of vacant properties to register with the city. A key goal is to protect neighborhoods and ensure properties are being maintained.

Neighborhood services director Spencer Self said, “Because of the investment values we do have speculators and other out-of-state investors who sit on properties and invest the bare minimum and in some cases not even that.”

And that can lead to blight, criminal activity and fires. Self is proposing commercial properties, lots larger than 10,000 square feet, and residential properties with at least 50 units to register if vacant for more than 30 days.

“We would like to provide them with a seamless process to sign an authority to arrest to give police the ability to address trespassing if appropriate,” he said. “A graffiti removal waiver to allow neighborhood services staff to access the property to address graffiti vandalism.” 

And a waiver to allow outreach services to people experiencing homelessness. City staff will spend the summer fine-tuning the proposal and talking with stakeholders and should have a formal plan ready this fall.

If approved by the city council, the online registry would also require a local contact, similar to how Phoenix handles short-term and vacation rentals.

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