Vacant and nuisance buildings in Easton are becoming a problem, a city officials said Wednesday.
During Committee Reports of the city's Council meeting, Council Member Roger Ruggles mentioned that the Planning Committee met prior to the meeting to discuss a proposed ordinance regarding vacancies throughout the city.
According to Becky Bradley, Bureau of Planning Director, building vacancies as well as nuisance buildings are a “real problem throughout the city.” As of now, the amount of vacant properties throughout Easton is approximately 368, according to Bradley.
The ordinance that has been proposed to Council would require a registration fee of approximately $200 for all vacancies and nuisance buildings in attempts to keep the amount low.
Bradley mentioned that according to this ordinance, if the building remained a nuisance that the registration fee will increase. The idea of charging building and home owners for repeated inspections on top of the registration fee was brought up during Council discussion.
“If this ordinance is in acted, we will need to hire more staff,” said Ruggles.
Bradley estimated the added staff to be approximately three extra people to help deal with the paperwork and decisions regarding the properties as well as an enforcement officer to go into the community to deal with the properties.
“I don’t see any reason not to support this ordinance unless there is some major budgetary issue,” stated Council Member Jeffrey Warren.
Council Member Elinor Warner agreed with Warren stating that her only major concern with the ordinance is the budget issue.
“Hiring three full time people is a lot of money,” Warner said.
Ruggles took the input from the rest of Council and will discuss the ordinance further at the next committee meeting scheduled for November 13th.