Weston City Building Inspector Bryan Reed plans to refocus on the enforcement of both the Vacant Structure Registration and Junk Vehicle Ordinance in 2018.
The Vacant Structure Registration Program requires owners of vacant structures to register those structures with the city, and to pay a fee according to the text of the ordinance.
The fees begin at $500 per year for buildings that have been vacant for more than one full year. The fees increase for each additional full year that the buildings remain vacant, capping out at $5,000 per year after five full year.
Any structures deemed to be both vacant and uninhabitable in violation of the building code and unsafe for occupancy would also be fined a separate and additional fee. Land owners would have 45 days to affect repairs or show proof of forthcoming repairs.
The law provides exemptions for properties owned by the city, state, or federal governments, or any of their agencies or subdivisions. Exemptions are also granted for buildings under construction or undergoing an active renovation or rehabilitation.
The junk vehicle ordinance states: “No person shall park, store or leave or permit the parking storing or leaving of any motor vehicle which is in a rusted, wrecked, junked, partially dismantled, inoperative or abandoned-condition upon any private property with the City for a period in excess of thirty days unless such vehicle is completely enclosed within a building or unless such vehicle is so stored or parked on private property in connection with a duly licensed business or commercial enterprise.”
The ordnance also requires that trailers are not to be stored upon any city street unless the trailer is: “being used as part of a project in which there is a current permit on file with the City and also on display at the work site.”
Those deemed to be in violation will be given written notice by mail and 10 days to remedy the problem. Those still in violation after that time would be subject to a fine of no less that $100 and no more than $500. The ordnance also grants the Weston Police Department the authority to go onto private property to remove vehicles in violation.
“When we have surveyed our residents in the past, one of their top concerns was the dilapidated housing and bad buildings here,” Weston Mayor Julia Spelsberg said in a press release about the renewed focus on enforcement of existing ordinances.
“We have a Better Buildings group which meets monthly and has a list of over 100 vacant buildings, many of which are in bad shape. So legislatively, we have tried to give our building inspector the tools he needs to get started on fining owners and getting some of these awful structures removed,” she continued.
“Like any other town, we have a big issue with absentee owners who don’t seem to care about their buildings as eyesores and being dangerous to neighborhoods. With our new efforts, we hope to correct that situation and make all neighborhoods safe,” Spelsberg added.