Last updated: January 16. 2014 12:50AM - 787 Views
By William Duffield Staff Writer

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XENIA — The City of Xenia is considering making updates to its property maintenance code that would cover vacant building and maintenance in general of buildings in the city. As part of the discussion as to change the codes, a public hearing has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23 at Xenia City Hall.

The City is looking to perform updates of the codes as part of X-Plan project. As part of this plan, it was considered that the property maintenance code updating was something that should be considered a “high priority.” The code is, according to the information from the City, “outdated and does not reflect current construction methods and codes, living standards, or best practices in code enforcement.” City officials want to rewrite the codes using the 2012 International Property Maintenance Code that will include amendments to customize the code to meet Xenia’s requirements.

The rewrite of this section would include addressing “modernization, improving interpretation assistance, consolidation, improving compatibility with other codes, establishing a re-inspection fee, defining unsafe building/demolition criteria, increasing flexibility with historic buildings, eliminating the foreclosure registration ordinance and clarifying the role of the enforcement officer,” according the the City of Xenia.

Also on the plan for the rewrite would be a Vacant Commercial/Industrial Building Registration Ordinance.

Like many other municipalities, Xenia has taken hits from the economy and the loss of business, causing several vacant buildings to be located around the city. The large number of vacant buildings can affect property values and tax revenue. They can also be a potential health hazard and also cause more police and fire calls to those vacant properties.

Another part of X-Plan’s recommendations is to set the stage for vacant buildings to become prosperous locations for business to inhabit in a “revitalization” of these properties. As part of this, the City is wanting to replace the current foreclosure registration ordinance with a “Vacant Commercial/Industrial Building Registration Ordinance.”

This would require the building owners to register with the city and provide local owner/maintenance company contact information. This would also call for the owners to agree to annual inspections and meet maintenance standards. They would also be required to pay a registration fee.

That initial fee would be $400 with the renewal doubling each year to a maximum of $6,400 is reached. This means the first renewal would cost the owner of the vacant building $800, $1,600 for the second and so on. There would also be a late fee of 50 percent of what is owed or $1,000, which is less. The planned change added that if a building had no outstanding notices of property maintenance, building or fire code violations, a 50 percent renewal fee reduction could be granted.

A building being marketed actively will have registration fees waved for up to 12 months.

The Gazette ran a story Tuesday about the former J. C. Penney store on E. Main St. that is facing maintenance issues because of a perceived hazard at the rear of the building. For more information, go to www.ci.xenia.oh.us.

William Duffield can be reached at 937-372-4444 ext. 133 or on Twitter @WilliamDuffield.

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