City Officials Could Make it Easier to Keep Vacant Buildings on Their Radar
Members of the Special Housing Review Committee said at Monday night's City Council meeting that vacant buildings will need registered with the city, and that carries with it a cost
Vacant homes and buildings may need to be registered with the city in the future if North Canton City Council follows the recommendations of a Special Housing Review Committee.
Councilman-at-Large Dan Griffith, also committee chairman, presented a first draft of proposed legislation to council members at Monday night's North Canton City Council meeting. The housing committee had previously discussed a nine-point plan to address housing problems.
"We need to get our arms around the abandoned properties that are here in town and create some accountability measures that will allow us to track those vacancies and enforce the problems when issues do arise with those vacancies," Griffith said.
Right now, about 50 homes within the city are in foreclosure.
The main goal of the legislation is to ensure those homes and vacant buildings don't fall into disrepair or fall prey to vandals. It's not uncommon for thieves to break into abandoned buildings to steal copper. Now, the city doesn't really have a way of knowing which buildings are vacant, and the police have no way of knowing which might be more susceptible to crime.
Griffith suggests property owners register the building with the city to avoid fines in Mayor's Court.
They'll also pay a fee to register the building.
The legislation would exclude elderly homeowners who may need to be out of their homes for extended periods of time — for instance, a stay in a rehabilitation center.
Enforcement is a key part of the legislation, Griffith added.
"We could make all the rules we want, but if they're not enforced, they don't mean anything."
Council will add the legislation to an upcoming agenda.
In other business:
- Council discussed changes to city dispatching services, which might include outsourcing services outside the city. The city recently upgraded to MARCS (Multi-Agency Radio Communication System) and could link up with CENCOM in Nimishillen Township. City Administrator Michael Grimes, and former police chief, said it's a tough call to balance the city's services while trying to save money. He said they'll continue to look into the benefits of changing the dispatching system.
- Council members and city officials once again attempted to dispell rumors that the city has definite plans to sell the Fairways Golf Course. Councilman-at-Large Mark Cerreta told council members golfers are afraid to renew memberships because they're unsure the golf course will be around through the year.
- Council members discussed passing a resolution saying they "adamantly oppose" a proposal by Gov. John Kasich to have municipal income taxes sent to the state of Ohio and then sent back to the city.