Oklahoma City Council OKs vacant buildings registry

Owners will have to report to the city as part of a plan to reduce the drag of blighted property on neighborhoods and the economy.
by William Crum Published: December 4, 2013

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.

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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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