Vacant building enforcement to require buildings be registered with city

Vacant building enforcement to require buildings be registered with city
Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 8:47 PM EDT
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PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) - Many vacant buildings and vacant houses in Portsmouth have seen better days.

“There’s buildings that windows just fall out. And that poses a safety issue for pedestrians,” said City Councilman Edwin Martell.

Martell says some of these buildings have sat vacant for years ... and have dilapidated over that time.

“An issue with blight is one thing and then we’re dealing with issues of break-ins, arson, we’re dealing with animals,” Martell said.

Under a new enforcement program, owners of vacant buildings will have to register their properties with the city engineer’s office.

“We’ll start and maintain a registry of properties,” said City Engineer Nathan Prosch.

Prosch says they’ll start conducting inspections of those places and it will be a lot of work for his staff. He is trying to assemble more people for the job.

“My first priority is getting an inspector. Right now, I just don’t have the bodies,” Prosch said.

After those inspections start, property owners will be expected to keep their buildings up to code. If they fail to do that, fines will be coming their way.

“Making sure that the building is safe, or the property is safe, well maintained. Making sure that the grass is cut. Making sure that the front porch isn’t caved in,” Martell said.

When it comes to commercial properties, Martell wants them to be appealing to outside investors who may want to move their business into the city.

“This was just one way to encourage people to do what’s right,” he said.

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