Street Closure Planned in Response to Protest Over Blight Ordinance

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    Police plan to close part of Main Street in New Britain in anticipation of a huge protest planned
    against a new anti-blight ordinance that officials said was designed to crack down on neglected apartments and homes.

    The ordinance at the heart of the controversy would charge an annual $150 fee per housing unit to landlords who don’t live within the property they’re renting.

    Landlords are calling the ordinance unconstitutional. They say it is just an added tax and they are suing the city of New Britain.

    Frank Maccarone, a landlord, said he cannot pass the costs on to his residents.

    City officials defend the ordinance.

    "We're not the least bit surprised that some of these outside groups that own property in New Britain, but don't live here, are threatened by this and want to sue the city,” Phil Sherwood, the mayor's spokesman, said. “We expected it and their time might be better spent cleaning up their properties than suing the taxpayers of New Britain."

    The protest before the city council is set to begin around 7 p.m.

    Several members of the Connecticut Property Owners Alliance, which represents property owners, plan to attend the meeting, according to a news release.