The Jacksonville City Council has passed a bill to create a new code enforcement board with the power to shut down businesses deemed a public nuisance.
If signed by Mayor Lenny Curry, the bill would create a nine-member review board will have the power to declare a business or property a public nuisance and then work with the property owners to address the issues.
The board will also have the authority to issue fines and eventually shut down businesses that don’t comply.
Members of the board will include a police officer, a property manager, a public health expert, an attorney, and members of the community.
The bill, passed Tuesday, was inspired by the challenge the city faced trying to close down a motel called the Gold Rush Inn.
The Northside property had a reputation for violence and drugs, and there had been eight murders onsite in just one year, according to Action News Jax. The city had to wait for the state to close the motel down.
According to the text of the bill, the Gold Rush Inn was just one example of properties in Jacksonville that “require disproportionate police and fire and rescue services and cause an unnecessary burden on those limited public services and therefore on all taxpayers of the City.”
In order to be declared a public nuisance, a building must have been reported a certain number of times within six months for things like prostitution, human trafficking, the sale or use of illegal drugs, robbery, or violent crimes.
The bill now goes to Mayor Lenny Curry’s desk.
Contact Sydney Boles at email@example.com or on Twitter at @sydneyboles.