Oklahoma City Council expects lively debate over vacant buildings ordinance

The Oklahoma City Council will consider a measure Tuesday to create a registry of vacant and abandoned buildings. A study says blighted property is a drag on the economy.
by William Crum Modified: December 2, 2013 at 8:50 pm •  Published: December 2, 2013

Both sides in a debate over vacant buildings are marshaling their forces for what promises to be a lively — or even rancorous — Oklahoma City Council meeting Tuesday.

The city has more than 12,000 vacant and abandoned buildings.

A study this year said those eyesores cost taxpayers millions of dollars in lost revenue and put excessive demands on services such as fire and police protection.

Blighted neighborhoods cost property owners an estimated $2.7 billion in lost value.

Owners of blighted properties pay an average of $112.39 annually in property tax, sales tax, franchise fees and other charges, the study said, compared with the more than $1,200 paid by owners of occupied homes.

The city council is considering creation of a vacant buildings registry to track rundown properties and more effectively address code violations.

Calls to action went out by email last week to neighborhood activists and leaders, and to residents and businesses with interests in commercial property.

An email sent to neighborhoods from the Neighborhood Alliance said commercial property managers oppose the registry and “will be at the meeting in force.”

by William Crum
OU and Norman High School graduate, formerly worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, and the Norman Transcript. Married, two children, lives in Norman.
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