Vacant building ordinance in effect Feb. 17

By Dean Wright -

GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis City will begin enacting an ordinance recently passed on its second reading which will go into effect Feb. 17, requiring registration of vacant buildings, whether commercial or residential.

Gallipolis City Commissioners have been discussing the ordinance with legal counsel for the past several weeks with the first reading and passage of the ordinance occurring Jan. 3. Along with the enactment of legal proceedings for eminent domain actions on a Fourth Avenue property, city officials are attempting to crack down on dilapidated properties within municipal limits.

Gallipolis City Manager Gene Greene, City Solicitor Adam Salisbury and City Code Enforcement Officer Brett Bostic have been holding biweekly meetings in an attempt to tackle the ongoing problem.

“We’re trying to make it easier to be reactive to some problems that come up,” Gallipolis City Solicitor Adam Salisbury previously said about dilapidated structures in town. “With new (paperwork) forms, we’re trying to be more proactive too to make sure buildings aren’t getting into some of the conditions that they are in.”

City officials created the ordinance through research from different villages and cities across the state copying passages they felt would work well for Gallipolis’ needs.

The proposed ordinance establishes a registration for owners of vacant buildings, whether they be residential or commercial. The buildings would need registered with the code enforcement officer. The ordinance would also establish an inspection schedule for a twice-a-year examination. The ordinance would also attempt to establish an escrow practice in which if an owner was looking to demolish a structure, then an owner would need to offer an amount of money as an insurance bond with the city. According to Salisbury, this would promote owners to destroy a building completely. If not, the city could then use the money in holding to finish the demolition. Lastly, the proposed ordinance would create a fee schedule if a vacant building was not being remodeled or occupied. The first year a building owner would pay $200 on the vacant or non-remodeled building. The fee would then double every year to a maximum of five years.

Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.

By Dean Wright