Casselberry considers ordinance to require banks to register foreclosed buildings

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. —

The city of Casselberry first took on foreclosed homes, and now officials are going after bank-owned businesses.

WFTV's Bianca Castro found out a new plan could force bank owners to be held accountable for foreclosed commercial properties.

Overgrown commercial lots are what Casselberry resident Deborah Robinson calls eyesores.

"It doesn't look good for the community itself," she said. "The banks need to take care of this and step up to the plate."

The city is considering an ordinance that would require banks that own foreclosed commercial buildings and lots to register with the city. That way, the city can hold banks responsible for property maintenance.

"It isn't the responsibility of city hall to be the lawn maintained of the city of Casselberry. That's not our job. Our job is to make sure those who own the property or own the title to the properties are responsible to care for those properties," said Casselberry Vice Mayor Colleen Hufford,

The city has already spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars mowing bank-owned yards.

Five years ago, leaders passed a similar ordinance to keep banks responsible for foreclosed residential homes. It worked. They saw a decrease in dilapidated houses, and now they're focusing on businesses.

"When we see overgrown grass, suddenly it's in foreclosure; we're able to get right to the lending institute," said Hufford.

Leaders expect construction on two major road projects -- the Red Bug Lake Road overpass and the 436/17-92 overpasses -- to lead to even more abandoned commercial spaces.

The commission is expected to approve the foreclosed property registration ordinance at its meeting on Sept. 10.