The Vacant Property Registration (VPR) Program was passed by City Ordinance in June 2014 and codified under Article 1765. The program was established to prevent vacant structures from falling into a state of disrepair or becoming a public hazard by streamlining the registration, inspection and monitoring process. Therefore, it is the responsibility of property owners to register vacant structures that are subject to VPR Program. This includes all residential, commercial and industrial property.
If property has been vacant for more than 45 days and the exterior maintenance and major systems of the building and the surrounding property are in volition of building, health and/or sanitation codes, the owner must register the structure with the City’s Code Enforcement Office. Please note the following definitions to determine if your vacant structure is subject to the VPR Program:
Vacant: A building or structure shall be deemed to be vacant if no person or persons actually, currently conducts a lawfully licensed business, or lawfully resides, dwell or lives in any of the building as a legal or equitable owners(s) or tenant-occupant(s), or owner-occupant(s), or tenant(s) on a permanent, non-transient basis.
Exterior Maintenance and Major Systems: Shall mean the safe and lawful maintenance of the façade, windows, doors, roof and other parts of the exterior of the building and maintenance of its major systems consisted of the roof, the electrical and plumbing systems, the water supply system, the sewer systems, and the sidewalk, driveway, if any area of the lot, as application and as enforced by the City, particularly in connection with codes adopted by the City as well as applicable, local, state and federal laws.
Occupied: Any building or structure shall be deemed to be occupied of one or more persons actually conducts a lawful business or sides in all or any of the building as the licensed business occupant, or as the legal or equitable owner/occupant(s) or purpose of this section, evidence offered to prove that a building is so occupied. Please see City Code Article 1765 for more information.
Vacant buildings and/or structures subject to the VPR Program shall complete the attached application and submit any other necessary documents to City of Parkersburg’s Code Enforcement Office. Failure to do so, by July 26, 2015, may result in a penalty of up to $500. A legal notice, stating as much was published in the newspaper on June 26, 2015. This fulfills the 30 day public notice requirement as specified in Article 1765.
If and when a vacant property is registered properly, no fee will be assessed for one year. If after one year the property is still vacant, the property owner will be assessed a fee of $100 per month thereafter. This fee will be assessed through the Finance Department and a record of such will be kept in the Code Enforcement Office.
Property owners are responsible for notifying the Code Office when a registered property has become occupied. Appropriate documentation, per Article 1765 will need to be submitted a verified by staff before a property is removed from the registry.
Property owners shall have the right to appeal the imposition of the aforementioned fee to the Public Works Director. This shall be done in writing to the Code Enforcement Office, no later than fifteen days after the date of the billing statement. A one-time waiver may be granted on the registration fee it the property submits a request and substantiated their claim in accordance with Article 1765.06.
If a property owner fails to pay the registration fees, as outlined in Article 1765, the City of Parkersburg may take civil action to collect the debt.