City of Fairmont Makes Great Strides to Battle Blight

PHOTO – A dilapidated home within the city of Fairmont

In Fairmont, over 300 buildings sit vacant, abandoned or dilapidated.

Some have sat for years in disrepair after their owners died or moved away. Others are owned by heirs who live out of state, and simply forgot about them.

But the residents who live next to them and the city government which has authority over them haven’t forgot.

“As people moved out, who was there to maintain their properties?” City Manager Robin Gomez said. “For many of them, nobody did.”

Read the full story from The Times West Virginia here.

New D.C. legislation will make it harder — and more expensive — for blighted property to sit vacant

DC Legislation

 

It may soon be more expensive — and more difficult — for a property owner to slowly sit on vacant or blighted property in the District. The D.C. Council will take a final vote Nov. 15 on the Vacant Property Enforcement Act of 2016, which was unanimously approved in its first pass by the council on Nov. 1. The legislation, introduced by Councilwoman Elissa Silverman , I-At large, and co-introduced by nine colleagues, would reduce the maximum amount of time a vacant property can qualify for an exemption from higher vacancy tax rates, close a loophole that allows continuous renewal of construction permits to qualify for tax exemptions and require owners of vacant properties to prove they are no longer subject to the higher tax rates. Read more here!

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/news/2016/11/07/dc-legislation-takes-aim-at-blighted-properties.html

D.C. Tightens Regulations on Vacant Properties

DC Properties

It will soon become harder for landlords to neglect vacant or blighted properties under a bill the D.C. Council unanimously passed today.

The measure—first introduced by At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman and co-sponsored by nine of her colleagues in December—seeks to maintain such buildings at higher property tax rates (5 and 10 percent more than standard for those determined to be vacant and blighted, respectively) until owners affirmatively prove to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs that they’ve abated issues. Current law requires that DCRA verify that buildings are vacant or blighted every six months, even when an owner has not indicated that they’ve made improvements. This has led to inconsistent enforcement of property laws and consumed inspectors’ time. Read more here!

http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/news/housing-complex/blog/20839403/dc-tightens-regulations-on-vacant-properties

U.S. Rep. David McKinley Advocates For Increase In Historic Tax Credits During Wheeling Speech

david mckinley

 

WHEELING — Rep. David B. McKinley said Wednesday he’ll work with West Virginia’s next governor to push for expanded historic rehabilitation tax credits, while pressing Congress to follow suit. McKinley, R-W.Va., said these credits incentivize private development, and they advocate for the restoration of dormant downtown districts…He cited several local properties revived because of tax credits, and said these buildings now contribute to the revitalization of Wheeling. “How a community treats its downtown is a manifestation of how it thinks about economic development,” McKinley said. “It hurts me every time I see another building come down because I know they could be restored.” Read more here!

http://www.theintelligencer.net/news/top-headlines/2016/10/mckinley-advoates-for-increase-in%E2%80%88-historic-tax-credits/

WVU Offers Legal Tools to Combat Blight

In case you missed it — the Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic at West Virginia University recently published a toolkit to help communities navigate the thorny issues around abandoned and neglected buildings. Click here for the background story. 

To explore the online legal toolkit, which is called “From Liability to Viability: A Legal Toolkit to Address Neglected Properties in West Virginia,” or to download a free PDF, visit the LEAP website.