Greensburg to vote on fees for vacant property registry | TribLIVE.com
Westmoreland

Greensburg to vote on fees for vacant property registry

Jacob Tierney
1779478_web1_gtr-CountyDistress-062619
Stephen Huba | Tribune-Review
The former Advance Furniture building on South Main Street.

Owners of vacant properties in Greensburg could be on the hook for up to $1,000 this year, with fees rising every year their buildings remain empty.

According to an ordinance passed by council in August, owners will need to pay an annual fee to register their vacant properties with the city.

City council will vote on the fees next week.

Owners will have 30 days from the time the fees are established to register. Those who shirk the ordinance can be taken to court, and if convicted could be subject to fines of $1,000 per violation per day.

If the proposal is passed, the fees for a property will rise the longer it stays on the registry.

The full proposed fee schedule is as follows:

  • Single-family residential: $150 initial fee, increasing $50 a year to a maximum of $300
  • 2-5 unit residential: $250 initial fee, increasing $250 a year to a maximum of $1,000
  • 6+ unit residential: $250 per unit initial fee, increasing $250 a year to a maximum of $1,000 per unit.
  • Commercial: $1,000 initial fee, increasing $1,000 a year to a maximum of $4,000.

The proposal gives officials the option to lower the fee to $100 for a property if the owner is actively working with the city to renovate, demolish or sell the building in question.

August’s ordinance also created new maintenance and security requirements. Owners are responsible for keeping vacant properties free of weeds and debris, and ensuring the building is secure.

The city already pursues legal action against absentee owners for code violations, and often has difficulty tracking down the owners. The registry is another tool for the city to use in its fight against blight, according to Mayor Robert Bell.

In 2017 the Tribune-Review found about 20% of downtown commercial properties were vacant. That figure has remained pretty much the same for many years, according to data collected by the Greensburg Community Development Corp.

City council meets Monday at 7 p.m.

Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jacob at 724-836-6646, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Westmoreland
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