(a)    In all areas zoned for residential or commercial use, an owner of a structure which meets the definition of a “vacant building” as set forth in this Chapter shall register such structure with the Division of Planning and Community Development not later than 90 days after it becomes a vacant building as defined herein, or not later than 30 days of being notified by the Division of the requirement to register based on evidence of vacancy, whichever event first occurs.
   (b)    The registration shall be submitted on forms provided by the Division and shall include the following information supplied by the owner:
      (1)    The name(s) and address(es) of the owner or owners;
      (2)    If the owner does not reside in a location in the State of Ohio within 25 miles of the Ashtabula City corporate limits, a property agent, manager or caretaker residing or doing business within the State and within said 25-mile-radius shall be designated and identified by name, address and telephone number. By designating an authorized agent under the provisions of this section, the owner is consenting to the service of any and all notices required or allowed under this Chapter upon said agent;
      (3)    The names and addresses of all known lien holders and all other parties known or believed upon information to have a claim of an ownership interest in the building;
      (4)    A telephone number where a responsible party can be reached at all times during business and non-business hours; and
      (5)    A vacant building plan as described in division (c) of this section.
   (c)    The owner shall submit a vacant building plan which must meet the approval of the Director of Planning and Community Development. The plan, at a minimum, must contain one of the following:
      (1)    If the building is to be demolished, a demolition plan indicating the proposed time frame for demolition which includes starting within 30 days of acceptance of the proposed demolition timeline and does not exceed one year in accordance with the Ohio Building Code; or
      (2)    If the building is to remain vacant, a plan for the ensuring the building is secured in accordance with all applicable building and fire codes along with the procedure that will be used to maintain the property, and a statement of the reasons why the building will be left vacant (e.g., building is for sale, etc.); or
      (3)    If the building is to be returned to appropriate occupancy or use, rehabilitation plans for the building and grounds. The rehabilitation plan shall not exceed 12 months from the time they obtain permits, unless the Director grants an extension upon receipt of a written statement from the owner detailing the reasons for the extension. Any repairs, improvements or alterations to the property must comply with any applicable zoning, housing, historic preservation, or building codes, and the property must be secured during the rehabilitation.
   (d)    All applicable laws and codes shall be complied with by the owner. The owner shall notify the Director of Planning and Community Development of any changes in information of their vacant building registration within 30 days of the change. If the plan or timetable for the vacant building is revised in any way, the revision(s) must be in writing and must meet the approval of the Director.
   (e)    The owner and subsequent owners shall keep the building secured and safe and the building and grounds properly maintained in accordance with all applicable health codes, property maintenance codes and fire codes.
   (f)    A new owner(s) shall register or re-register a vacant building with the Division within 30 days of any transfer of an ownership interest in the vacant building, unless the building is to become occupied upon transfer. The new owner(s) shall comply with the approved plan and timetable submitted by the previous owner until any proposed changes are submitted and meet the approval of the Director.
   (g)    Failure of the owner or any subsequent owners to maintain the building and premises that result in remedial action taken by the City shall be grounds for revocation of the approved plan and shall be subject to any applicable penalties provided by the law.
   (h)    The provisions of this Chapter apply to all owners of record and both the vendor and vendee under any actual or alleged land contract or lease-purchase agreement, whether recorded or unrecorded.
   (i)    The registration and all associated processes must be completed in its entirety annually for as long the property remains vacant.
   (j)    The Director shall maintain a record of any property-specific written statements from community organizations, other interested parties, or citizens regarding the history, problems, status, or blighting influence of a vacant building. Such written statements shall become part of the permanent record pertaining to such property.
(Ord. 2013-44. Passed 3-18-13.)