§ 1458.05  REGISTRATION FEES.
   (a)   The fees imposed by this chapter shall be reasonably related to the administrative costs for registering and processing the vacant building owner registration form, for the costs incurred by the City in monitoring the vacant building site and to sufficiently discourage the accumulation of blight and disrepair in the UC-C Zoning District. The annually increased fee amounts shall be reasonably related to 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.
      (1)   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.
      (2)   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.
      (3)   The first annual fee shall be paid at the time the building is registered. If the fee is not paid, the owner shall be subject to all applicable penalties as outlined in § 1458.99 of this chapter.
      (4)   The fee shall be paid in full prior to the issuance of any building permits unless the property is granted an exemption. The fee shall be prorated by day and a refund may be issued if the building is no longer deemed vacant under the provisions of this chapter within 180 days of its registry.
      (5)   All delinquent fees shall be paid by the owner prior to any transfer of an ownership interest in the vacant building.
      (6)   Late fees shall be paid in addition to the annual registration fee and will be equal to one-fourth of the annual fee. Fees incurred prior to the modification above will be assessed under the ordinance at the time they were reviewed.
   (b)   If an owner or person in control of a vacant property or a purchaser fails, neglects or refuses to pay a registration fee within the time ordered pursuant to this section then the designated administrator of the registry shall so notify the Finance Director. The Finance Director shall certify the registration fee to the County Auditor. In addition to the registration fee, an interest rate equal to the current rate of interest charged by the City on special assessments shall be imposed by the City for the life of the registration fee, added to the registration fee, and collected as provided in this section. The Finance Director shall then certify the amount of the registration fee, including interest, to the County Auditor. The County Auditor shall enter the amount on the tax duplicate of the county as a special assessment against the person's real estate that is subject to the registration fee.
   (c)   Exemptions.
      (1)   A building under active construction/renovation and having a valid building permit(s) shall be exempt from registration until the expiration of the longest running, currently active building permit.
      (2)   A building which has suffered fire damage or damage caused by extreme weather conditions shall be exempt from the registration requirement for a period of 90 days after the date of the fire or extreme weather event if the property owner submits a request for exemption in writing to the Administrative Services Department. This request shall include the names and addresses of the owner or owners, and a statement of intent to repair and reoccupy the building in an expedient manner, or the intent to demolish the building.
      (3)   A building that is for sale and listed with a licensed State of Ohio realtor shall be exempted for a period of 12 months from the start of vacancy, provided that the owner or owner's representative submits proof to the Administrative Services Department of such listing and for sale status.
      (4)   A building that has been granted an exemption pursuant to the following. Any owner of a vacant building may request an exemption from the provisions of this chapter by filing a written application with Administrative Services Director who shall timely consider same. In determining whether a request for exemption should be granted, the Director shall consider the following: the applicant's prior record as it pertains to City Housing Code, Building Code or Property Maintenance Code violations; the amount of vacant property the applicant currently has within the City; and the length of time that the building for which the exception is sought has been vacant.
   (d)   The City shall refund the vacant property registration fee paid if the subject building is brought into compliance with standards of the Ohio Building Code and reoccupied within one year of payment of the annual registration fee. The refund shall be for the amount of the registration fee paid during the calendar year in which the building was approved for re-occupancy. Registration fees paid in previous years shall not be refunded.
(Ord. O2019-18, passed 4-2-2019)