By Mike Dunn

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–Heading to Mayor Nutter’s desk, a City Council bill that gives L&I crews the authority to break the padlocks on vacant lots in order to clean them.

Second District Councilman Kenyatta Johnson says L&I’s efforts to clean up unsightly vacant lots are stymied because absentee owners lock them.

His measure to give crews the authority to break the locks was approved at council’s final meeting of 2013 and now Johnson hopes to get the process rolling.

“We are already in the process of doing preliminary assessments of those lots throughout the second council district that have locks on them. And so we want to be prepared to go out into the community and start popping those locks.”

Johnson admits that the bill could be challenged in court by property owners, but he says the needs of neighbors to be rid of blight should take precedence.

A spokesman for the Mayor says the proposal is under review.

A representative of Licenses and Inspections did testify at an earlier hearing in support.

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