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Vacant properties ordinance to be enforced starting Nov. 1

| September 14, 2018

COSHOCTON – On Nov. 1 the city will begin enforcement of Chapter 1355 of the Codified Ordinances of the City of Coshocton that Coshocton City Council passed on June 6 to help deal with vacant residential and commercial properties.

The purpose of this legislation is to establish a program for identifying and registering vacant residential and commercial buildings; to determine the responsibility of owners and/or persons of control of vacant buildings and structures; and to speed the rehabilitation of the vacant buildings. Shifting the cost of the burden from the general citizenry to the owners of vacant buildings will be the result of this chapter.

The ordinance requires the owner or person in control to register with the property code department not later than 90 days after any building located in an area zoned for, or abutting an area zoned for residential or commercial use in the city becomes a vacant building, and not more than 30 days of being notified by the property code department of the requirements to register based on evidence of vacancy, whichever event first occurs. Owners who fail to register at the prescribed time will be considered delinquent.  The owner or person in control must submit a plan for the vacant building when registering.

“If vacant buildings are in blighted condition you are subject to a fee,” said Jeff Corder, property code investigator for the city. “Vacant buildings that are in good shape can get exemptions if they are actively trying to rent or sale the building. These will be considered on an instance to instance base.”

The fee schedule (including how it will increase each year a building is vacant) and list of possible exemptions can be found online at www.cityofcoshocton.com. A complete copy of the legislation is under the council section of the city’s website and the instruction sheet for filling out the application can be found in the download section of the website. The ordinance also defines: Evidence of vacancy, person in control, secured by other than normal means, temporarily vacant, unoccupied, unsecured, and vacant building.

“Fees will be held in a fund for the building department,” Corder said. “If you don’t fix up your property we can use that money to fix it up or tear it down. A lot of times too properties are bought at tax sales and people never do anything with them and then get behind on the taxes. This will help us have funds to deal with those situations too.”

Vacant properties may be inspected both externally and internally by the property code department at the start of each registration period and when the registration is terminated by the property owner or person in control. If the property owner or person in control does not agree to the inspection, a search warrant may be obtained to inspect the property as required by the ordinance. Inspections will be done by Corder who will be assisted at times by a retired building official who is an engineer.

“He will be able to help out with deciding if buildings are structurally sound,” Corder said. “That could give us more leverage to sue and have a building brought down.”

He also emphasized that they are not trying to penalize those who take care of their properties.

“It’s about the properties that no one maintains,” Corder said. “There are landlords out there who have beautiful homes and then there are ones who are letting their properties go downhill.”

A database of vacant properties in the community is being built and Corder encourages residents to contact him if they know of one. He can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at 740-202-0060.

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Category: Government

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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