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Vacant buildings go on the books

Eliminating blight, eyesores and potential safety hazards in Glenville is hoped to be accomplished through the Vacant Building Registry passed by the Town Board on June 16, which requires owners of vacant buildings to register their property.

Incentive to sell a vacant building occurs from fees property owners will pay if the building remains vacant. The longer a building is unused, then the greater the fee will become.

The law, sponsored by town board member Sid Ramotar, would establish a $100 fee for vacant single or two family homes and increase by that amount every year until five years has been reached capping the annual fee at $500. Other vacant residential or commercial buildings not exceeding 10,000 square feet will have a $200 first year fee that increase till the five year cap of $1,000 annually. If the vacant building is over 10,000 square feet the fee starts at $300 and increases similarly until the five-year cap of $1,500 annually.

These fees are also meant to preserve and build the tax base for the town, said Town Supervisor Christopher Koetzle, besides improving the appearance of Glenville.

"This is really a pro-business piece of legislation, because it is working to protect current property tax rates for surrounding businesses," said Koetzle at the meeting. "It is an important tool going forward to help residential development efforts."

Previously, some residents were concerned about the terms and conditions of the bill. Koetzle said the board listened to community input when making changes for the final draft.

"We wanted to be fair and understanding to the comments we heard," said Ramotar after the meeting. "There are many reasons why a home could become vacant and we understand that."

Hardship Waivers can be applied for to waive the fee, but the building is still registered with the building inspector. Some situations include a death in the family or hospitalization conditions. Also, the fee can be waived if the home is proven by the building inspector to be on the market.

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