Blighted Property Initiative
As vacant properties fall into abandonment and disrepair, they become sites for illicit activity, fire and safety hazards, and impede future investment and growth.
The RRA has taken the lead in the City initiative to remediate vacant and blighted properties. Towards this end a plan for the future acquisition, renovation, and disposition of blighted properties is being developed. A vacant property list has been compiled. A housing needs assessment, utilizing citizen input, has been conducted. The RRA is currently working to develop strategies and tools to return blighted properties to productive use.
Towards this end a Blighted Property Steering Committee, made up of volunteers from the RRA, Board of Aldermen, Planning Commission, and City administration, has been convened. The purpose of this committee is to provide guidance in the creation of enhanced City ordinances and strategies which will deter abandonment and hold property owners responsible for maintaining their property. In August, 2013 a new City ordinance regulating vacant properties was enacted requiring the registration of vacant property and setting standards for upkeep as well as financial deterrents for property owners who allow their property to deteriorate to a state of pubic nuisance.
Along with developing disincentives for holding blighted properties there is also a plan to incent private investment and encourage homeownership. During the 2013 legislative session the RRA worked with local legislatures and the State Agency of Commerce and Community Development to develop a residential property tax stabilization policy, (Sec 1. 32 V.S.A. 3850), that may encourage private homeownership and re-investment in properties certified as blighted by the City.