By Bill Duffield
March 25, 2014
XENIA — The City of Xenia recently enacted a Vacant Commercial and Industrial Building Registration ordinance, which requires that all vacant buildings be registered with the City by May 14. City staff have begun reaching out to owners of these properties to inform and assist them with regard to the registration requirements.
Vacant buildings cost a community considerably due to impacts on property values, lost tax revenue, increases in police/fire calls and code enforcement services, and potential hazards to the public and public safety first responders. The registration program allows the City to keep track of vacant buildings, ensure they are maintained in a safe condition, and recover a portion of their disproportionate costs to the community. Vacant building registration was a high-priority recommendation of Xenia’s citizen-driven X-Plan, which highlighted the need to reposition vacant buildings for revitalization.
The newly enacted ordinance requires owners of, or persons in control of, vacant commercial and industrial buildings in the City of Xenia to complete a registration form and submit to the Planning and Zoning Department. The form is available on the City’s website, www.ci.xenia.oh.us; click on City Government, City Services and Permits, Forms and Applications, or call 376-7277.
This form requests basic information about the building as well as contact information for the following:
• The owner or person in control of the building.
• A local authorized agent if the owner/person in control does not reside in Greene County or an adjacent county.
• Lien holders and/or others with a legal interest in the property.
• Company and realtor or agent responsible for marketing the property.
The ordinance also requires:
• Provide proof of general liability insurance covering the building in an amount not less than $1 million.
• Provide a plan for securing, rehabilitating, or demolishing the building.
• Allow annual interior/exterior inspections to confirm compliance with applicable Property Maintenance, Building and Fire Codes.
• Pay a registration fee if required.
• Display a placard (available upon request from the City) on the building indicating the potential level of hazard for first responders.
• Display a window sign with contact information about the owner, authorized agent, and any individuals responsible for building management.
The new ordinance is not meant to be a burden or a deterrent to owning commercial or industrial property in the City of Xenia. In fact, the registration fee is waived for up to 12 months for buildings being actively marketed and fees are refunded if a vacant building is brought into compliance with the building code and re-occupied within one year of fee payment. Buildings that are vacant due to fire/extreme weather damage are exempt for 90 days from the fire/weather event. Buildings with active building permits for renovation are exempt until the expiration of the permit.
The ultimate goal of this effort is to encourage private-sector efforts to actively market, renovate and fill Xenia’s commercial and industrial vacant buildings. This will improve the value of Xenia’s neighborhoods and business districts, increase jobs and services, and reduce the overall burden on the community for providing City services.
More information about the City’s vacant commercial/industrial building registration programing, including the ordinance text, registration form, and Frequently Asked Questions, can be found on the City’s website (www.ci.xenia.oh.us, click on City Government, City Departments, and Planning and Zoning Department) or by calling 376-7277.