Vacant house owners to be identified on signs

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The city of Huntington is taking another step in dealing with the problem of all the vacant houses in the city.

The city of Huntington is taking another step in dealing with the problem of all the vacant houses in the city.

Monday night, Huntington City Council passed the second reading of an ordinance requiring owners' names and contact information be displayed on placards outside houses on the vacant building registry.

Teresa Stevens lives on Doulton Avenue near several vacant houses. She says she's often seen squatters going in and out.

"It's just an eyesore," she said. "They could set it on fire, and it just looks bad."

The city has torn down more than 100 vacant houses and buildings in the past year. Now they're adopting another measure dealing with the problem.

City leaders say this would help first responders get in touch with owners if there's an emergency.

It also means owners of vacant houses won't be able to stay anonymous.

"The idea is put it there so everybody knows who owns the property," Mayor Steve Williams said.

Williams is hopeful the new ordinance could help vacant property owners be held more accountable.

"It might make them do something," she said.

The city attorney says the new placards rule will not apply to property owners selling their homes who keep them in good shape and don't let them get run down.

Williams says the new rule is modeled after a similar ordinance in Chicago.