New rules for vacant building monitoring take effect on June 1, 2019. The goal of the revised monitoring program is to help prevent the neighborhood blight commonly associated with vacant buildings.
Vacant buildings can be hard to maintain due to trespassers, squatters, and illegal dumping. Fires, illegal drug use, other criminal activities, and health and safety hazards for occupants, neighbors, and emergency services providers are increasingly seen at vacant buildings.
Under the new program, SDCI will enroll all vacant properties that are in the development process and conduct monthly inspections rather than quarterly. SDCI will also add additional properties discovered via neighborhood complaints and currently in the enforcement process.
SDCI encourages owners to explore ways to keep buildings occupied while waiting for permits to be issued. Strategies might include working with non-profits to place caretakers on the property or, for commercial properties, coordinating with the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture to house an art space. Owners can also work with SDCI to learn about ways to keep existing tenants in a building for as long as possible while in the permit process.
Look for more information about the new Vacant Building Monitoring program in the next issue of Building Connections.