The rationale for the law states:
It is the finding of the Common Council that buildings which remain vacant, with access points board over, are unsightly, unsafe and have a negative effect on their surroundings. This is particularly troublesome in residential and neighborhood commercial neighborhoods. Unfortunately, many buildings, once boarded, remain that way for many years. The purpose of this article is to establish a program for identifying and registering vacant buildings; to determine the responsibilities of owners of vacant buildings and structures; and to speed the rehabilitation of the vacant properties.The law imposes a fee for owning a building that is kept vacant: $1,000 for the first year; $2,000 for the second year; $3,000 for the third year; $4,000 for the fourth year; and $5,000 for the fifth and each subsequent year.
When the Council voted to enact the law last night, I thought immediately of the Robert Taylor House, considered to be the oldest surviving house in Hudson. It came to mind because I had visited it only days before, while taking some folks on a walk around the Kaz redevelopment site, and heard one of my companions on the walk opine that the house was approaching the point at which it would be beyond saving.
One wonders what the impact the vacant buildings law will have on the fate of this building--one of the oldest in Hudson and one closely associated with Hudson's early maritime history and with its earliest water-dependent industries.
Also of interest at last night's Common Council meeting, resolutions were passed authorizing a feasibility study on the adaptive reuse of John L. Edwards School, a feasibility study to make the current City Hall ADA compliant, and salary increases for the city treasurer, city clerk, and code enforcement officer, the latter resolution passing not without dissent. Dan Udell's video of the meeting is now on YouTube, and you can watch it all here.
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