Watertown properties come off city’s condemned list

Watertown homes taken off condemned list

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The city of Watertown inspects vacant properties on a regular basis. Each month, a number of condemned properties are "lifted." That means the owner has gone through the right channels to meet city code requirements.

The property at 662 LeRay Street just came off Watertown’s list of condemned buildings. For June, it’s one of two properties where permits were obtained, fixes were made and they will go back on the tax rolls.

“Our goal is to have properties restored, not to knock them down. We prefer to have people come in, bring a plan as to what their time period is. It has to be a reasonable time period and show us that they have the fiscal responsibility to do it. We will work with them,” said Rick Finn, city manager.

However, there are other properties going in the wrong direction.

Watertown codes supervisor Shawn McWayne says each month, a handful of homes is routinely condemned because they are neglected and become too dangerous for anyone to live inside.

“Usually when we start vacating structures, repairs fall in line because that’s their livelihood,” he said.

To limit the number of vacant properties that get condemned, Watertown is considering a vacant property registry.

Those property owners would need to pay $50 to get registered and if work needs to be done, pay for a building permit and bring the building back up to code.

If that doesn’t happen, the city could fine the owner $750 annually. How much time the owner has is undetermined.

“To let the neighborhoods know that we’re out there, we tag these properties. We’re watching them. When they reach a certain point, we’ll take the necessary action,” said Finn.

City council is expected to review the vacant property registry at the next meeting Monday, July 15, with hopes of keeping more homes off the list of condemned properties.

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