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Covington council discusses blighted houses
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The Covington City Council spent a full day of work at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government in Athens during its 2015 retreat Tuesday.

Among the many topics up for discussion were planning and zoning, communications, Legion Field, strategic plan, branding and marketing, Christmas on the Square and more.

The busy day began with the issue of dilapidated houses as the council discussed some options for cleaning up the city from blight and overgrown property. Several ways were discussed, including using detainees to cut the grass and “slow the growth of the urban forest.” Assistant City Attorney Frank Turner then interjected that the only way the city could get the grass cut without going in front of a judge every time a house needed it was to take ownership of the property.

The council then came to a consensus on taking on properties that were gifted to the city.

However, when a property is not turned back over to the city, the council is still working on ways to handle that particular situation.

City Manager Leigh Anne Knight brought forth for the council’s consideration an ordinance that Porterdale uses to address overgrown lots. Knight suggested an incentive structure for property owners to pay increasing fines in order to get lots back to code.

“That would incentivize people who don’t qualify to have their home torn down,” Knight said. 

For more on this story see Sunday's print edition of The Covington News.