Maintenance code to receive second reading at Xenia Council

By William Duffield bduffield@civitasmedia.com

February 12, 2014

XENIA — The Xenia City Council will be taking action on a pair of ordinances that will alter the way the city deals with property maintenance and vacant commercial buildings during Thursday’s meeting as well as welcoming a “new” city manager.

Brent Merriman will officially be sworn in during Thursday’s meeting. Merriman has been the city’s assistant city manager and has been acting city manager since the retirement of Jim Percival.

The ordinances, both in second reading and both introduced by Councilman John Caupp, will amend Part 14 of the Building and Housing Code. One will deal with vacant commercial buildings while the other will make alterations to the city’s property maintenance code.

The Vacant Building Registration Ordinance calls for owners of vacant commercial or industrial buildings to register with the city, provide local owner and/or maintenance company contact information, meet maintenance standards, allow annual inspections and pay a registration fee.

The ordinance would ensure vacant commercial and industrial buildings are kept weather tight and secure from trespassers. It will also ensure that buildings are not or do not present a hazard to the public.

The owner of the vacant buildings would pay a registration fee with an annual renewal amounts doubling each year until a maximum of $6,400 is reached. The registration fee is waived for up to one year for a building that is actively marketed and any fees can be refunded if a vacant building is brought up to compliance with the building code and re-occupied within one year of fee payment.

The second ordinance, the Property Maintenance Code Update, will do just that — update a part of the city’s legislation that has been in place since 1996.

The rewrite will solve a problem that was identified in Xenia’s X-Plan, that the code must be updated because it did not reflect current construction methods and codes, living standards or best practices in code enforcement.

The City stated the rewrite of the property maintenance code is based on the 2012 International Property Maintenance Code with amendments to customize the legislation to meet Xenia’s needs.

According to the city, the rewrite will address the issues of modernization, improving interpretation assistance, consolidation, improving compatibility with other codes, establishing a re-inspection fee, defining unsafe building/demolition criteria, increasing flexibility with historic buildings, eliminating the foreclosure registration ordinance, and clarifying the role of enforcement officer.