Oklahoma City will create a registry as a first step toward reducing the negative impact of thousands of vacant and abandoned buildings on city neighborhoods.
The city council unanimously adopted the proposal Tuesday at a meeting attended by about 70 people. About 15 people spoke before the vote.
Owners will have to register most residences that have been vacant more than 30 days.
Responding to concerns from some commercial property managers and Realtors, the final proposal loosened some requirements for commercial buildings.
Residences or commercial property being rehabilitated also will get less scrutiny.
Darla Cheek, of the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors, said the plan was “still very fuzzy” and led a series of speakers who urged the council to defer action.
State Rep. Kay Floyd, a Democrat who represents near-northside neighborhoods, asserted the proposal had been improved in response to comments made at a public hearing last month.
“It's time to move the process forward,” she said.
Commercial buildings will have to be registered within 12 months of becoming vacant, a change from the earlier proposal. A property undergoing rehabilitation will have to be registered only if it is vacant more than six months after a building permit is issued.
Exceptions also are included for property that is for sale and actively being marketed.
Registration fees and annual renewal fees will be levied on owners of vacant buildings.
There are more than 12,000 vacant and abandoned buildings in Oklahoma City, according to a study released earlier this year.
The study said run-down houses and commercial buildings push everyone's property values down, depriving owners of $2.7 billion in unrealized value.
Blighted buildings also are a drag on the city's economy, costing taxpayers millions of dollars in lost revenue and placing excessive demands on services such as fire and police protection.
Owners of blighted properties pay an average of $112.39 annually in property tax, sales tax, franchise fees and other charges, the study found.
That stands in contrast to the more than $1,200 paid by owners of occupied homes.
Further measures, such as creation of a land bank to finance neighborhood revitalization, will require legislative action.