Aberdeen vacant building program launches Oct. 1

New rules and fees on vacant or dilapidated buildings in the downtown Aberdeen area and extending to Park Street are starting soon.

At the Aberdeen City Council meeting on Wednesday, City Administrator Ruth Clemens says that one building owner has already prepaid their fees, but there have been questions raised by other owners before the program officially launches on October 1.

The city council adopted a resolution in July that set the fees for the Vacant Commercial Buildings Ordinance that discourages owners from not addressing their buildings and leaving them empty or in disrepair.

Fees will be enforced against building owners if they have vacant buildings, as well as fines if they remain that way.

Fees were set at $100 to $250 a year for each vacant building owned, depending on the length of vacancy, as well as $100 for monthly inspections.

When asked about the fees in July, Community Development Director Lisa Scott told the council that while the format of the rules was modeled after other cities, the rates in those other areas were “substantially higher”.

Vacant commercial properties must be registered with the city, with documentation if the buildings are under a current building permit or repair project, renewing that registration on a yearly basis.

Scott said in July when the fees were approved that there will be some crossover time between October 1 and full implementation to allow the city time to notify building owners and for staff to have the opportunity to implement the new rules.

The city approved new rules for the vacant or dilapidated buildings that would fall under the new ordinance earlier in July.

City officials are tasked with conducting inspections to enforce that building owners are complying with the updated rules.