Vacant Building Registry

City of Huntington property owners are required to register their vacant buildings with the city’s Legal Department. Huntington City Council adopted an ordinance establishing a vacant buildings registry that took effect on Jan. 27, 2016. The purpose of the ordinance is to keep unoccupied buildings in a safe, well-maintained condition and prevent them from becoming a safety hazard and lowering values of surrounding properties.

Who must register?

Owners of commercial structures and all structures within the business district if the buildings have been 100 percent vacant for 30 or more days. Owners of residential structures, if the buildings have been 100 percent vacant for 210 or more days.

What if I don’t register?

The city may register the building and levy a fine.

Is there a fee to be on the Vacant Building Registry?

The city will require the property owner to pay a fee if his or her building has been on the registry for one year. The fee will be based on the building’s square footage – 40 cents per square foot in the city’s business district and 20 cents per square foot in all other areas – and will increase incrementally each year. Fees will be billed annually. The property owner may request to have the city refuse account be inactivated once the property is registered.

How do I apply for a Registration Waiver?

Registration waivers may be granted if the owner provides satisfactory proof that the vacancy is temporary and may be due to illness of the owner, active military service or some other reasonable explanation believed to be short-term in nature and documentable as necessary.

Will the vacant building be inspected?

Once registered, the city’s inspection division may conduct a visual, outdoor inspection to ensure it is secure and safe. The property owner will be notified of any maintenance issues. Citations may be issued if the property is not brought into compliance. An unoccupied structure may not be held to the same maintenance standard as an occupied structure.

How do I get off the Vacant Building Registry?

Both residential and commercial buildings must be occupied for 11 consecutive months to be taken off the vacant buildings registry. Proof of occupancy must be provided.

What proof of occupancy is accepted?

The best proof of occupancy are electric and water bills. Other proof may be accepted by determination of the administrator.

What is the “Business District”? 

For the Vacant Building Registry, the city defined three business districts, downtown Huntington, along Hal Greer Boulevard, and along 14th Street West. These areas are defined as between 1st and 22nd streets from 6th to 12th avenues and parts of 3rd, 4th and 5th avenues for downtown (see map); Hal Greer Boulevard from Washington Boulevard to 5 ½ Alley in the Fairfield neighborhood (see map); and 14th Street West from Washington Avenue to the railroad tracks along Van Buren Avenue in West Huntington (see map). Those with specific questions about whether a vacant property is in the city’s business district can review the above online maps or call the City Planner’s Office at 304-696-5540 opt. 3.