PAULDING – The Village of Paulding is attacking the issues of abandoned buildings head on. Through careful consideration and research the Village of Paulding Council has written a proposal for a vacant building ordinance.

Through the council’s research it was discovered that there are several towns and cities that have implemented a similar ordinance it has proven to be beneficial for their community.

According to Dave Burtch, chairman of the Community Improvement Corporation of Paulding, “We’ve made great strides the past 12 months with the sale of several buildings to new owners who are beginning work on upgrading their buildings and attracting new businesses. Downtown properties are in demand right now and we are hoping that this ordinance will incentivize owners of vacant buildings to either fix them up and lease them or sell them to someone who will.”

The ordinance, which has been read at the Village of Paulding council meetings recently, includes the stipulation that within 60 days of a building becoming vacant the owner must apply for a certificate of inspection and apply annually thereafter. It states that the owner of a vacant building shall pay an annual fee of $1,000 for the first year that the building remains vacant. This $1,00o fee will be paid at the time of registration.

The ordinance states, “For every consecutive year that the building remains vacant, the annual fee will be assessed at double the previous year’s fee amount for a maximum annual fee equaling the three-year fee of four thousand dollars ($4,000) to be used for the fourth and all consecutive, subsequent years of vacancy.”

According to the ordinance the funds acquired from the registration fees will be deposited into a fund that will be established for the benefit of property owners within the affected area at the Village Council’s discretion.

There are sections and subsections in the ordinance that address the transfer of property or title; the dispersal of funds by an escrow agent and the corrections of violations.

The ordinance states that if there are any violations discovered upon the inspection of the premises all must be corrected prior to issuance of the certificate of occupancy. If the violations that cannot be corrected due to season conditions there is language in the ordinance that allows for an extension. It will be conveyed in writing that the timeframe to receive the certification will be extended six months.

Once a certificate of occupancy is obtained a building is permitted to be occupied. This certificate will only be issued once all violations listed on certificate of inspection have been completed to the Village’s satisfaction and all requirements are met to be eligible for occupancy.

The proposed penalties for violation of any of the ordinance are a fourth degree misdemeanor with a “separate and distinct offense” for every day a violation(s) continues. It also states that, “unpaid registration fees and fines shall be an assessment on the property enforceable in the same manner as assessments for delinquent property taxes.”

This ordinance was developed with not only deep thought and serious consideration, but also in a great effort to help transform downtown Paulding and continue to be an attractive setting for business owners.

The Village of Paulding Council is seeking to hear public feedback regarding the proposed ordinance. All residents are encouraged to reach out to the council with their comments and concerns. The village office hours are: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. The phone number for the village office is 419-399-4011 and the email address is pldgvil@Paulding-net.com.