Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Cincinnati approves Board of Housing Appeals, repeal of VBML fees

The City of Cincinnati has passed unanimously two ordinances to help deal with a backlog of blighted properties and make it easier for owners to rehabilitate them.

The first ordinance creates a new Board of Housing Appeals, a seven-member body that would address building code notices, decisions or orders from the Department of Community Development issued by code officials from the Division of Property Maintenance Inspections.

The new board will also consider waivers from Vacated Building Maintenance License (VBML) requirements for building rehabilitation.

Prior to the ordinance, those issues were handled by the Board of Building Appeals, a board that was widely considered to be taxed with a heavy caseload.

To date, no members have been appointed.

The second ordinance removes the $300 surcharge fees associated with the demolition of vacant and vacated buildings, if the site is restored within one year of the payment of VBML fees.

City experience has shown that the fees end up leading to civil demolitions because the vast majority of the buildings are functionally obsolete or too costly to rehabilitate, and the lack of a refund acts as a disincentive.

Both ordinances amend Chapter 1101 of the Cincinnati Municipal Code.

Previous reading on BC:
Two proposed ordinances meant to address Cincinnati blight (10/10/08)