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Thursday, October 27, 2016

OP-ED: Vacant Property Registration Will Improve Our City

Candidate for Fort Thomas City Council, David Cameron, with wife Sarah and daughter Ada Kate. Provided. 
By David Cameron, candidate for Fort Thomas City Council 

If you have a vacant home or building on your street, then you know first-hand that it can have a negative impact on the ambiance of our residential community. Uncut grass, growing weeds, dead trees, and maintenance issues can quickly become unsightly. These homes are often safety hazards and attract animals and children. Importantly, many of these properties are bank owned, with enforcement notices to distant bank offices going unanswered.

As a candidate for Fort Thomas City Council, I have researched possible solutions to this problem and discovered that other cities have been successful in cleaning up vacant properties through the creation of a vacant property registration and maintenance program.

This program would require abandoned bank-owned properties to register a name of a local individual or company who would be responsible for maintenance.  Entities that owned foreclosed property would be subject to fines for not maintaining their properties.  Further, the list of abandoned foreclosed properties would be available to the public to facilitate an infusion of redevelopment opportunities in our city.

Kentucky law allows for additional taxes on properties that have been abandoned for greater than one year. This allows the city to recoup additional costs associated with these properties, including code enforcement, police, and fire calls. This option should be explored as well.

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To highlight some neighboring communities pursuing similar initiatives, Kenton County is currently considering a county-wide vacant property registry and Villa Hills recently enacted a similar ordinance. Cincinnati already has this type of registry in place and it has been a success.  The number of degrading homes during the foreclosure period was reduced from an estimated 20 to 30 percent to an estimated 10 percent after the first-year of the ordinance, and was further reduced to 4.5 percent during the second year.

We are blessed to live in a thriving and vibrant community. It is important that we consider all tools available to ensure that it stays that way.

I hope to consider this plan, among the other issues facing our city, as your new councilman.  Thank you for your vote on November 8th.

David Cameron is a candidate running for a seat on Fort Thomas City Council.

The views expressed in Op-Ed pieces are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fort Thomas Matters. 


  1. I agree with your position and support you David. Great job!

  2. David, great article. There's no doubt that vacant and abandoned properties create the environment for safety hazards, animals, and drugs. I am looking at doing similar things in Dayton, KY and applaud you for getting this article posted

    -Alex Kraemer

  3. David, I have followed the council race closely through Fort Thomas Matters and appreciate your dedication to your candidacy. You and Mr. Slawter have given us two strong options if we feel the need to replace incumbents. I have a couple of follow up questions regarding your proposal/platform:

    I agree with those above, this is an initiative worthy of discussion.

    However, can you provide some data regarding the number of properties in the city in this type of condition? That would help provide better context to the impact this program might--or might not--have on the community as a whole. For example: If we have 6,000 properties in the city and we only have 12 that would qualify for registration, I would argue that the program, administratively, may not be worth the effort to upkeep. But if a greater percentage of homes would qualify to be in violation, then certainly there is a greater impact on the community.

    Also, who would these responsibilities fall to and what financial support would need to come from the budget for this effort?

    Thanks again for your commitment to our community and good luck during the campaign. I look forward to your response.