New Vacant Property Regulations Take Effect Mid-June
On April 22, 2019, the City Council introduced Ordinance No. 1375 amending various sections of the Bellflower Municipal Code (“BMC”) to regulate vacant properties within the City.
Vacant property means any real property that is either 1) undeveloped; or 2) has an existing on-site structure or other improvement including, without limitation, improved parking lots and spaces, that is either abandoned, vacant or unleased by the responsible party for more than 90 days.
The following provisions are key changes that affect vacant properties:
A landscape and irrigation plan must be submitted for all vacant properties.
Unimproved vacant lots:
1. A landscape area must be provided and maintained along the perimeter of the lot adjacent to streets, alleys, or public rights-of-way.
2. Landscape areas must be planted with natural, drought tolerant vegetation.
3. A wrought iron, Kentucky fence, or other suitable fencing material must be located behind all required perimeter landscaping.
4. An operable automatic irrigation system for the groundcover must be installed and maintained.
5. The lot must be maintained free of litter, weeds, graffiti, debris, & stockpiling of any material.
6. Any dead or dying vegetation must be replaced within 72 hours.
7. All perimeter barriers and fencing must be maintained in good condition.
8. The lot must be adequately secured to prevent illegal dumping, criminal activity, vandalism, graffiti, trespassing, & all other attractive nuisance.
Improved vacant property:
In addition to items 4-8 listed above, the following provisions apply:
Existing on-site landscaping and irrigation must be maintained in good condition.
All on-site structures must be maintained in good condition.
All vacant properties must be secured within 24 hours after becoming vacant, or showing evidence of vacancy.
Permanent windows, doors or other fixtures are required. Window, door, or other similar openings may not be boarded for a period longer than 10 calendar days without prior written approval of the Director.
A “Letter of Agency” is required.
All vacant properties that are existing at the time the Ordinance becomes effective must comply with the vacant property requirements within 60 days of receiving notice from the City.
Vacant property must be registered with the City within 30 days of written notice by the City. The registration fee is $121 and is valid for the calendar year, or remaining portion of the calendar year. The initial first year registration fee is waived if the registration process is initiated by the responsible party. Vacant property must be registered on an annual basis.
Violations and Penalties
In addition to penalties and fines that may be imposed pursuant to BMC Chapters 1.08 & 1.12, the City Attorney is authorized to file a civil action to recover up to $1,000 per violation per day.