Hearing will focus on rules for vacant buildings
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.