Martha Marx


Martha Marx



March 15, 2023


Today, State Senator Martha Marx (D-New London) and New London Mayor Michael Passero testified in front of the Planning and Development Committee in support of legislation that would bolster municipal abilities to implement and enforce blight ordinances. Sen. Marx and Mayor Passero noted that New London experiences issues with vacant and blighted buildings; the legislation in question would most prominently change the population threshold in current state law, allowing more municipalities the ability to petition for receivership for blighted and abandoned properties.

Sen. Marx noted the bill was introduced with the support of New London’s legislative delegates, including State Representatives Christine Conley and Anthony Nolan, as well as Mayor Passero.

“In New London, we really are a renaissance city, we are really booming,” Sen. Marx testified. “But one of our biggest problems are the blighted buildings in our main downtown area. We have 12 vacant buildings and six of them are condemned. Right now, we can fine [property owners] as much as we want for blighted property, but that’s about all we can do. We are not going to have that great feeling of walking on our Main Street, Bank Street and State Street downtown if we don’t get rid of these blighted buildings. I’m sure everyone [on the Committee] has a municipality they’re thinking of where this policy could help.”

“This bill would remove the cap of having to be a municipality with a population of 35,000 or more to use state statutes to remediate blighted properties in municipalities,” said Mayor Passero. “Originally, Sen. Marx was kind enough to introduce a bill to reduce that cap to accommodate the city of New London, and I understand the cap of 35,000 was introduced in 2019 as a compromise; the original bill was drafted at 75,000. I believe it’s time now after three or four years of experience with the legislation that we know there will not be terrible consequences if you give more municipalities the ability to use this legislative tool. We would love to have this arrow in our quiver in New London. We have a downtown with important properties in the Central Business District that are blighted and abandoned and have been in that condition for decades. Currently, we have nearly half of our downtown store fronts that are vacant, and they’re vacant because the buildings containing them have been blighted or abandoned for a long time. The city has been unable to find a mechanism to get the owners to remediate these properties. If we could take advantage of it, this legislation would give us a tool we need to motivate them to be better citizens, and gives us the ability to go to court and reach ownership.”

House Bill 6892, “An Act Concerning Municipal Blight Ordinances,” would take steps to aid towns and cities including removing the municipal population threshold for parties to petition for a municipality to be appointed receiver for a blighted and abandoned property, among other significant changes.