Greensburg to vote on fees for vacant property registry |

Greensburg to vote on fees for vacant property registry

Jacob Tierney
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
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.