The Virginian-Pilot reports that Portsmouth is joining Norfolk in Norfolk’s efforts to lobby the General Assembly to give Virginia’s cities more tools to limit vacant houses. Currently Norfolk is limited to a $25/year fee for houses to be placed on a vacant housing registry. Commonsense tells you that a $25 fee will not even cover the cost of running the registry, much less deter home owners from leaving empty, blighted, and vacant houses in our neighborhoods. The article reports that:
Boarded-up and vacant houses have been found to decrease the value of neighboring homes by as much as $7,500.
Under Norfolk’s proposal, owners of boarded-up houses would be charged $2,500 annually.
They would be required to submit rehabilitation plans quickly. Owners who fail to do so or finish renovations would face additional fines of $250 each quarter.
The Portsmouth Neighborhood Quality Taskforce, which has been studying this issue of vacant houses in Portsmouth, also recommended that Portsmouth adopt “one system [that] could track tax delinquencies, police and fire calls, and other indications that a property has become troubled”. The Wards Corner Partnership has been advocating such a system in Norfolk for years.
Read the Virginian-Pilot article: Portsmouth joins Norfolk in efforts to eliminate blighted lots