City of Aberdeen discuss vacant buildings; look at possible fees for them

The City of Aberdeen is considering a policy to address vacant buildings.

At their meeting on Wednesday, the council began discussions of implementing new rules related to buildings that are unused or dilapidated within the city.

According to a report to the council, the change request comes “Due to the number of complaints and concerns centered around Vacant Buildings” and if the city should explore the possibility of implementing a Vacant Building Program. 

The city states that “Vacant buildings have led to increased vagrancy, vandalism, loitering and generally an eyesore to our central commercial business core”. 

According to City Administrator Ruth Clemens, the discussion is just starting and the specifics have not been decided.

Clemens added that the initial talks are to focus on buildings that are notably vacant, but that could adjust depending on the discussion and what the council would like to see.

Discussion around the topic on Wednesday pointed out that the Aberdeen Municipal Code already places limitations on buildings that are “unfit for human habitation”.

Community Development Director Lisa Scott said that the current consideration would be to go further than what is already in place.

Councilmember Stan Sidor commented that he had spoken with local business owners, and he was relayed by one that they had concerns replacing windows and removing boards due to crime, and had no plans to replace the windows until time there was more assurance that they would be stopped being broken out.

If implemented as recommended, any revenue from fines from this program would be invested in the Good Neighbors Revolving Loan Fund. This fund is available to those business and building owners who want to make improvements to their buildings.