When he ran for city council in 2015, Councilmember Haidar Awad, Candidate for Mayor proposed assessing a fee on vacant, dilapidated property left unkept by ab-sent property owners.

“I made a commitment to residents that I would bring this tool to our city and I’m proud to say I kept my promise,” said Councilmember Awad.

The ordinance known as a “blight fee” levies a penalty on properties that owners fail to maintain at community standards or who leave their property “abandoned.”  In other cities that have a similar provision, it has forced owners of vacant property to sell, build or rent.

“Hawthorne is better when we have local businesses, restaurants, and shopping that make our city a desirable place to live and work,” said Councilmember Awad, “residents want new development and are tired of seeing valuable vacant property sitting unused for over 20 years.”

Violations can go as high as $1,000 per day if owners don’t address the issues and can result in jail time if nothing is done in six months.

The business community is supportive of the measure because thriving businesses have an investment in Hawthorne and a blighted property can bring down the value of surrounding locations.

Councilmember Awad said “this is an economic catalyst that will incentivize growth in Hawthorne” because Hawthorne wants property developed.