RACINE — Municipal Judge Robert Weber has made recommendations for new, stiffer forfeitures for nuisance property offenses to the Public Safety and Licensing Committee.

The changes, which were approved Tuesday, now go before the City Council for final approval.

Committee members were glad to see the municipal judge looking to tighten up on the owners of nuisance properties.

“I like that we’re finally addressing some of these chronic nuisance properties,” Committee Chairman Jeff Coe, Racine’s 1st District’s alderman, said.

Assistant City Attorney Robin Zbikowski told the committee that stiffening penalties for nuisance properties would put their owners “on notice.”

The municipal code of ordinances defines “chronic nuisance premises” as locations that have “generated at least three or more responses from the police department for public nuisance activities within a 90-day period, whether or not an arrest was made. A police response shall be counted against the premises if the call was in response to a public nuisance activity occurring at or within 200 feet of the premises by a person associated with the premises.”

After being defined as a nuisance property, the property owner will be notified and is required to establish an abatement plan to be approved by the chief of police. If issues persist, the chief of police can calculate the cost of police services to the property, or the chief can issue forfeitures against the property; the latter of which is what Weber is proposing changing.

The ordinance itself was most recently updated in fall 2017.

Currently, not including court fees, the forfeiture prices are as follows:

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$300 — First chronic nuisance property offense

$500 — Second offense

$1,000 — Third offense

Here’s the new forfeitures, not including court fees, approved by committee Tuesday:

$500 — First chronic nuisance property offense

$750 — Second offense

$1,000 — Third offense

Under the new recommendations, court fees would range from $191 to $321.

Although she still voted in favor of the recommendations, 10th District Alderman Carrie Glenn said, “I don’t think the fines are enough for a nuisance property.”

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Before the JT hired him, Adam went to St. Cat's before going to Drake University. He covers homelessness and Caledonia, helps lead social media efforts, believes in the Oxford comma, and loves digital subscribers: journaltimes.com/subscribenow

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