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The fees described in this Section are established in order to defray the cost to the City government and community as a whole related to the health, safety and economic impacts of structures which remain vacant for long periods of time, including but not limited to administrative costs for registering and processing the vacant building owner registration form and for the costs incurred by the City in monitoring the vacant building site. The fees are also structured in order to provide appropriate incentives for owners of vacant buildings to care for them properly, seek to fill them, and in appropriate cases demolish them. The annually increased fee amounts are intended to absorb the costs incurred by the City for demolition and hazard abatement of or repairs to vacant buildings, as well as the continued normal administrative costs stated above.
(a) The owner of a vacant residential building shall pay an annual fee of two hundred dollars ($200.00) for the first year the building remains vacant. 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 five-year fee of three thousand two hundred dollars ($3,200) to be used for the fifth and for all consecutive, subsequent years of vacancy.
(b) The owner of a vacant commercial building shall pay an annual fee of four hundred dollars ($400.00) for the first year the building remain vacant. 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 five-year fee of six thousand four hundred dollars ($6,400) to be used for the fifth and for all consecutive, subsequent years of vacancy.
(c) The first annual fee shall be paid at the time the building is registered. If the owner successfully restores the building to occupancy or demolishes it in accordance with applicable law during the first year following registration, the fee shall be refunded, less an administrative charge equal to 5% of the amount refunded. In each subsequent year, if the registration is renewed in timely fashion, there have been no violations associated with the property in the previous year, and re-inspection reveals no significant housing, building or fire code violations, one-half of the previous year’s registration fee shall be refunded to the owner, less an administrative charge equal to 5% of the amount refunded.
(d) The fee shall be paid in full prior to the issuance of any building permits unless the property is granted an exemption.
(e) All delinquent fees shall be paid by the owner prior to any transfer of an ownership interest in the vacant building. A lien may be placed on the property to collect delinquent fees.
(f) Absent a showing of good cause, if a building is not registered within the time frame required in Section 1369.02 , or the registration is not renewed within 30 days after the expiration of one year from the date of the previous registration, a penalty shall be paid in addition to the annual registration fee. The penalty shall be equal to one-half of the current annual fee or one thousand dollars ($1,000), whichever is less.
(Ord. 2013-44. Passed 3-18-13.)