Beatrice, NE, begins vacant property registration program

Beatrice, NE: City Council has approved a vacant property registration program, and will continue to evaluate further measures to expand the program in order to prevent blight.

The ordinance stipulates owners of vacant buildings must register those buildings within 30 days of becoming vacant or face penalties, as well as provide plans for the building and pay fees.

The first year the registration fee is only $10. The second year of vacancy the fee increases to $25. The third year the fee jumps to $250. And for every subsequent year, the fee rockets to $1,000.

The plan submitted for the building requires a timeline and strategy to either demolish it, gain occupancy for the building, or make repairs that could lead to occupancy.

Buildings evaluated to be priced on the market realistically will be exempt from the process.

The further vacant property ordinance measure under consideration includes evaluation by a city inspector of adjoining buildings to those vacant buildings, to identify decline that is occurring so as to prevent further decline and avert those buildings becoming vacant properties.

The evaluation of buildings would only occur every three years, with no cost to building owners for the inspection to determine whether dilapidation was occurring.

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