Updated 01/29/2013 06:32 PM
Helping clean up crime by taking care of vacant buildings
With one new rule Elmira is hoping to take a bite out of crime and improve the appearance of some neighborhoods. City lawmakers pass a law cracking down on vacant buildings. YNN's Katie Husband shows us how it could give property owners the motivation they need to spruce things up.
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ELMIRA, N.Y. -- When people drive by this section of Elmira, they may see some empty store fronts, but city lawmakers are trying to improve that, thanks to a new law.
"Have them on record, have a manager, again very similar to rental registration within the Elmira area, somebody who we can serve notice on," said Elmira Mayor Sue Skidmore.
In the past few years, the city has had issues managing vacant properties. But with the new ordinance, the city will be able to keep up with the buildings, improving their neighborhoods.
"So this will get us back out in the street, look at those properties, notify the owners, know who the owners are and ask for a plan," said Skidmore.
And buildings like this on South Main Street won't go to waste. Another benefit lawmakers hope it will give criminals one less place to stay.
"They have places to hide, fires burn these places down because we have transients living in them, the homeless are there looking for shelter, they don't want to go into a regular shelter," said Skidmore.
The City Council hopes this will give property owners a wakeup call.
"It gives them the opportunity to think about what they're doing with that property. How long they want to have it sit empty and like I said, some of them have been empty since I've been here over twenty years," said Skidmore.
If property owners do not file within a year, there is a $500 fine, plus an extra $100 fee.