SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A data-driven bill passed by Springfield City Council Monday night is a new approach to the growing number of complaints about nuisance properties.  

“Quality housing is a priority need for our community and addressing nuisance properties is a significant element of that need,” Councilman Brandon Jensen said. “While this is primarily a data request that will provide us with the boots-on-the-ground analysis and understanding of the situation throughout our city.” 

The bill, passed unanimously, requires the city manager to present a written report on the nuisance property citations.  

The first one is due within the next 90 days and will be comprised of data from the first six months of 2023. 

The resolution also requires finance committees to look at fees and increasing fines when it comes to nuisance properties. 

City council members hope these reports will identify trends and lead to solutions to a persistent problem.  

Multiple speakers voiced opinions before the vote.  

“Nuisance properties are not merely an upsetting thing that some folks have to observe while passing by on their way across town,” Tom McFarland said. “Nuisance properties are gaps.” 

“The request for data and tonight’s proposal will help stakeholders, both public and private, better understand the heart of the issue as it relates to repeat offenders,” Andrew Doolittle said. “I believe that is a key piece to solving this.” 

“There’s a lack of opportunity between the low paying wages, poor housing quality and the lack of protections for tenants at the city level,” Sarah Barnts said. “Despite this lack, I do believe in a Springfield with an abundance of safe, affordable, and dignified housing.” 

Councilwoman Monica Horton says she’s hopeful but reserved concerns about the longevity of the effort, issued a statement saying, “I’d like to say that city council has been here before on the issue of nuisance properties, but this time we have an advocate in Councilman Jensen who will help steer this effort. I will also say that I am concerned about this effort falling flat because of fiscal, personnel, logistical, and legal matters that always seem to be the biggest hurdles on these issues but we have to be persistent if we want to increase homeownership, home values, and quality rental housing. The city lost some of ground with city staff and city council turnover among other factors, but we have local solutions we can reactivate from the Zone 1 Blitz of 2015 that are in the interest of all citizens of Springfield.”