Officials pass new law to combat local blight


ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Local officials are working to combat neglected, vacant buildings and absentee landlords. It’s an issue many upstate cities including Albany have been facing for several decades. Local officials created legislation that would speed up the process to condemn blighted buildings.

New York lawmakers gathered Thursday to celebrate a victory in their fight against blight in the Capital Region. Under a law signed this week by Gov. Kathy Hochul, city and county courts can now condemn vacant or neglected buildings and eliminate potential delays in the process. Officials said this will make it easier for local governments to revitalize rundown and forgotten neighborhoods.

“We can get fines and code violations in city court, but to actually condemn a building, to actually move forward to take a building is a process, it’s expensive, and it’s really challenging,” says Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan.

Under this new law, city and county courts can handle these cases. Before the law, these proceedings would go straight to Supreme Court which could delay the process.

“When it comes to addressing blight, there has to be many tools in the tool shed — this is another critical tool because it’s going to allow them to address these buildings in a much quicker fashion,” says NYS Assemblymember John McDonald.

Governor Kathy Hochul signed the bill into law earlier this week and it went into effect immediately.

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