On Monday, May 17 City of Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms instituted Phase II of the Administration’s crackdown on nuisance properties—which contribute to violent crime.

Legislation introduced on behalf of the Administration empowers the city to hold property owners and managers accountable for conditions that contribute to violent crime and conduct. The legislation—sponsored by Councilmember Amir Farokhi—was passed by city council.

“Strengthening the city’s laws on nuisance properties gives us the ability to address businesses involved in continued violent crime incidents,” Bottoms said.

According to a press release from city hall, the legislation creates a new section within the Nuisances article (Sec. §74-175) that allows the city to declare properties contributing to the commission of violent conduct or crime a public nuisance.

The city will provide notice of documented reports of violent conduct or crime occurring on the property to the owner, and if the owner does not abate the nuisance the city will take action and the Municipal Court may assess the owner for costs.

The legislation also empowers the city to suspend or revoke a business’ alcohol license for violations of the new nuisance section of the city code.

“This legislation gives us a new tool to fight crime and improve the quality of life for all Atlantans. A vibrant nightlife is a feature of any great city,” said District 2 Councilmember Amir Farokhi.

“But it shouldn’t come at the cost of our safety. Where we see repeated incidents of violence at specific establishments, we must act. Through this bill, we can swiftly revoke liquor licenses and effectively shut down businesses that aren’t operating peacefully.”

Phase I of the Mayor’s actions—adopted earlier this year—focused on ensuring businesses licensed in Atlanta as restaurants are actually operating as restaurants and not bars or clubs.

These businesses must submit a statement from a certified public accountant that the entity derives at least 50 percent of its gross food and beverage sales from prepared meals. The legislation also added a maximum penalty of the revocation of the liquor license upon the business’ first violation.

These actions are part of Mayor Bottoms’ Administrative Order on nuisance properties, which established a cross-departmental working group to streamline the city’s response to nuisance properties or activities that are a threat to the public health, welfare and safety, and that may contribute to the commission of violent crimes.

Mayor of Atlanta Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks onstage during the 2018 Essence Festival presented by Coca-Cola at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 7, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence)

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