Hear­ing will fo­cus on rules for va­cant build­ings

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Ariél Zangla azangla@free­manon­line.com ArielAtFree­man on Twitter

KINGSTON >> Mayor Steve Noble will hold a pub­lic hear­ing next week on new leg­is­la­tion to reg­u­late va­cant build­ings in the city.

The hear­ing is sched­uled for 6 p.m. Oct. 18 in City Hall, 420 Broad­way.

The Com­mon Coun­cil adopted the mea­sure last week. If Noble signs the leg­is­la­tion, it will re­peal and re­place the cur­rent sec­tion of the city’s code reg­u­lat­ing va­cant build­ings.

“The mayor ap­pre­ci­ates the coun­cil’s swift ac­tion on this im­por­tant leg­is­la­tion, as he be­lieves it will sup­port the city’s ef­forts to im­prove the qual­ity of res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial prop­er­ties in our neigh­bor­hoods and re­duce the neg­a­tive im­pact va­cant build­ings have on our com­mu­nity,” Me­gan Weiss-Rowe, the city’s di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions and com­mu­nity en­gage­ment, said in an email.

The new leg­is­la­tion is de­signed to cre­ate a pro­gram for iden­ti­fy­ing and reg­is­ter­ing aban­doned and va­cant build­ings and prop­er­ties, as well as to set forth a process for se­cur­ing, main­tain­ing and re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing the prop­er­ties. It also re­quires such prop­er­ties be reg­is­tered with the city’s code en­force­ment of­fi­cer and re­quires the own­ers to pay an an­nual fee that would es­ca­late as long as the build­ing re­mains va­cant.

Mort­gagees would be re­quired to regis­ter all prop­er­ties in fore­clo­sure within 10 days of the fil­ing. Also, all own­ers would have to regis­ter their prop­er­ties within 10 days af­ter any build­ing be­comes aban­doned or va­cant, or within 20 days af­ter be­ing no­ti­fied by the code en­force­ment of­fi­cer to do so.

The new leg­is­la­tion also in­cludes a sec­tion on “cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of aban­don­ment,” which would al­low the city to take steps to en­sure a prop­erty is prop­erly main­tained af­ter it has been cer­ti­fied as aban­doned. The cost of such main­te­nance would be charged against the prop­erty owner as a mu­nic­i­pal lien or spe­cial tax.

While a build­ing or prop­erty is aban­doned, the owner or mort­gage holder would be re­quired to pay an an­nual fee to the city un­der the leg­is­la­tion. That fee would be $1,200 for each of the first four years the prop­erty was aban­doned. In the fifth year, the fee would in­crease to $5,200. An ad­di­tional $1,000 would be added to the fee each year there­after, up to 10 years.

Ex­cep­tions un­der the law in­clude prop­er­ties that were dam­aged by fire or ex­treme weather con­di­tions.

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