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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Fort Thomas to Explore Vacant Home Registration

Fort Thomas City Council members Ken Bowman (left) and David Cameron (right).
--> Homes that stand empty a long time can become eyesores and even present safety issues if they are neglected. One tool cities across the country have found useful in monitoring vacant homes and encouraging home owners to take care of properties is vacant home registration.

Fort Thomas Council Member David Cameron has been looking into the issue and is proposing a vacant home ordinance for Fort Thomas. At its November meeting, city council passed a motion to send the proposal to the city’s Law, Labor and License Committee for discussion.

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"Essentially [the proposal] targets bank-owned properties in the city. The bank will need to pay a registration fee and appoint a local person to contact for code concerns," Cameron explained.

"The goal is two-fold. First, is to make sure banks are being good neighbors, and the second is to encourage redevelopment of these properties."

According to the Center for Community Progress, vacant property registration ordinances ensure that:

  • Owners of vacant properties are known to the city and other interested parties and can be reached if necessary;
  • Owners of vacant properties are aware of the obligations of ownership under relevant codes and regulations; and
  • Owners meet minimum standards of maintenance of vacant properties.
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In addition, fees established in an ordinance can help cover costs incurred by the municipality to deal with vacant properties, and can help to motivate owners to work toward improving properties and filling vacancies.

Details specific to a proposed Fort Thomas ordinance should be available after the Law, Labor and License Committee hearing to be held prior to the December council meeting.

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