A. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, an authority, or any locality, shall have the power to acquire or repair any blighted property, as defined in § 36-3, whether inside or outside of a conservation or redevelopment area, by purchase or through the exercise of the power of eminent domain provided in Chapter 2 (§ 25.1-200 et seq.) of Title 25.1, and, further, shall have the power to hold, clear, repair, manage or dispose of such property for purposes consistent with this chapter. In addition, the authority and locality shall have the power to recover the costs of any repair or disposal of such property from the owner or owners of record, determined in accordance with subsection B of § 36-27. This power shall be exercised only in accordance with the procedures set forth in this section.
B. The chief executive or designee of the locality or authority shall make a preliminary determination that a property is blighted in accordance with this chapter. It shall send notice to the owner or owners of record determined in accordance with subsection B of § 36-27, specifying the reasons why the property is blighted. The owner or owners of record shall have 30 days from the date the notice is sent in which to respond in writing with a spot blight abatement plan to address the blight within a reasonable time.
C. If the owner or owners of record fail to respond within the 30-day period with a written spot blight abatement plan that is acceptable to the chief executive of the agency, authority or locality, the agency, authority or locality may request the locality to declare the property as blighted, which declaration shall be by ordinance adopted by the governing body.
D. No spot blight abatement plan shall be effective until notice has been sent to the property owner or owners of record and an ordinance has been adopted by the local governing body. Written notice to the property owner shall be sent by regular mail to the last address listed for the owner on the locality’s assessment records for the property, together with a copy of such spot blight abatement plan prepared by the agency, authority, or locality. If the repair or other disposition of the property is approved, the authority, agency, or locality may carry out the approved plan to repair or acquire and dispose of the property in accordance with the approved plan, the provisions of this section, and the applicable law.
E. If the ordinance is adopted by the governing body of the locality, the locality shall have a lien on all property so repaired or acquired under an approved spot blight abatement plan to recover the cost of (i) improvements made by such locality to bring the blighted property into compliance with applicable building codes and (ii) disposal, if any. The lien on such property shall bear interest at the legal rate of interest established in § 6.2-301, beginning on the date the repairs are completed through the date on which the lien is paid. The lien authorized by this subsection may be recorded as a lien among the land records of the circuit court, which lien shall be treated in all respects as a tax lien and enforceable in the same manner as provided in Articles 3 (§ 58.1-3940 et seq.) and 4 (§ 58.1-3965 et seq.) of Chapter 39 of Title 58.1. The governing body may recover its costs of repair from the owner or owners of record of the property when the repairs were made at such time as the property is sold or disposed of by such owner or owners. If the property is acquired by the governing body through eminent domain, the cost of repair may be recovered when the governing body sells or disposes of the property. In either case, the costs of repair shall be recovered from the proceeds of any such sale.
F. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this section, unless otherwise provided for in Title 36, if the blighted property is occupied for personal residential purposes, the governing body, in approving the spot blight abatement plan, shall not acquire by eminent domain such property if it would result in a displacement of the person or persons living in the premises. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to acquisitions, under an approved spot blight abatement plan, by any locality of property which has been condemned for human habitation for more than one year. In addition, such locality exercising the powers of eminent domain in accordance with Title 25.1, may provide for temporary relocation of any person living in the blighted property provided the relocation is within the financial means of such person.
G. In lieu of the acquisition of blighted property by the exercise of eminent domain, and in lieu of the exercise of other powers granted in subsections A through H, any locality may, by ordinance, declare any blighted property as defined in § 36-3 to constitute a nuisance, and thereupon abate the nuisance pursuant to § 15.2-900 or § 15.2-1115. Such ordinance shall be adopted only after written notice by certified mail to the owner or owners at the last known address of such owner as shown on the current real estate tax assessment books or current real estate tax assessment records. If the owner does not abate or remove the nuisance and the locality abates or removes the nuisance at its expense, the costs of the removal or abatement of the nuisance shall be a lien on the property and such lien shall bear interest at the legal rate of interest established in § 6.2-301, beginning on the date the removal or abatement is completed through the date on which the lien is paid.
1994, 2nd Sp. Sess., cc. 5, 10; 1995, cc. 702, 827; 1996, c. 847; 1997, c. 572; 1998, cc. 690, 898; 1999, cc. 39, 410, 418; 2001, c. 482; 2003, c. 940; 2006, c. 784; 2007, c. 763; 2009, cc. 181, 551.