City officials: Salem needs solution for vacant, run-down buildings

Thirty buildings are sitting empty in Salem's downtown area alone

SALEM, Ohio (WYTV) – The Rules and Ordinance Committee in Salem held a meeting Wednesday evening to come up with a plan for dealing with numerous vacant buildings.

The committee discussed proposed legislation in greater detail, and talked about necessary changes that need to be made to spruce up the city.

Officials are using the city of Painsville’s “vacant property registration program” as a model, and say it’s a law that needs to be mandated and reinforced.

The vacant building ordinance would include both commercial and residential properties. The owner of a building that sits empty for a period of 90 days would be fined, or given the incentive to either rent, lease or sell the property.

“It’s ways that we can encourage people to attempt to sell their buildings that they’re not going to use, to sell them or fix them up and really just give them the push in the right direction.”

City officials say Salem is in desperate need of this ordinance, as over 30 buildings are currently sitting empty in just the downtown area alone.

“It’s not just in our downtown, it’s in our neighborhoods. We have a lot of residences in our neighborhoods where the owners aren’t trying to sell them, aren’t trying to rent them, they’re just letting them fall to pieces,” said Committee Chair Cyndi Baronzzi Dickey.

Committee members want to talk with housing inspectors and the fire department to reach an agreement on how to fix up the run-down homes and businesses.

“If it’s more expensive for them to let their houses go to pot and just generally bring the property values down, then maybe they’ll fix them up or sell them to someone who will.”

The committee plans to meet again on July 18. It hopes to make the ordinance a law by then.

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