After years of wrangling with how to redevelop blighted properties no one seems to want, city-parish government is considering a new law to make it easier to put those parcels back into commerce.
The problem is so-called adjudicated property — land that’s been put up for tax sale but has attracted no buyer.
The City-Parish Council was briefed Tuesday on a proposal to allow local government to wipe clean the tax bill and put the property out to public bid or give it to a nonprofit for redevelopment.
Most adjudicated properties are in limbo, sitting abandoned and unwanted because the tax bill has climbed higher than the value of the property.
“For the vast majority of these, they are stuck in their current situation,” said attorney Ryan Goudelocke, who has been working with city-parish government on the issue.
There were 1,043 adjudicated properties in Lafayette Parish as of 2011, the most recent year for which figures were available Tuesday evening.
Most of those — 717 — were in the city of Lafayette, concentrated along the Evangeline Thruway corridor.
The proposal outlined Tuesday lays out an extensive process for attempting to notify the original property owners before selling or donating the property.
Anyone wishing to acquire the property would need to provide detailed plans for redevelopment.
“What is the intended use? How do they plan to get there? What are they going to do in the meantime?” Goudelocke said.
He said an important restriction is that the owner who owes the back taxes cannot work through a third party to acquire the property.
City-parish officials have for years lamented the blight linked to adjudicated property but have never moved forward with a comprehensive solution.
A key component of the proposal outlined Tuesday is that the City-Parish Council has complete discretion over the process and must approve every property transfer.
“The council has oversight over every disposition under this ordinance,” Goudelocke said.
Council members, who will vote on the adjudicated property ordinance next month, had few questions Tuesday.
Councilman Jared Bellard suggested that public bid be given priority over donating the property, to recoup some portion of the back taxes.
“At least get a sale and get some money back,” he said.