Corning proposed ordinances look to improve downtown

Corning’s City Council is looking at two ordinances that take on the downtown blight in the form of vacant, unmaintained and boarded up businesses.


Two proposed ordinances penned to improve the looks of downtown Corning went before the City Council for approval during the last regular meeting, which took place by teleconference due to COVID-19.

One of the two ordinances is for a code imposing a vacant building monitoring fee to secure vacant buildings. The other ordinance concerns regulating long-term boarded and vacant buildings.

The purpose of the proposed monitoring fee ordinance, said City Manager Kristina Miller, is to reduce the frequently resulting blight unmanaged and unmaintained vacant buildings cause in the city.

“Vacant buildings also become an attraction to transients and criminals, including drug users,” she added. “This results in these individuals leaving drug paraphernalia in the vacant buildings, including used needles, creating a significant health and safety risk for the residents of Corning, as well as city staff.”

She included the fact the vacant buildings diminish property values of the downtown.

The need for an ordinance concerning long-term boarded and vacant buildings pretty much cited the same factors.

“These issues caused by the existence of vacant buildings result in significant costs to the City for law enforcement response, code enforcement, and related issues,” Miller explained. 

If passed, the vacant building monitoring fee ordinance would required owners of vacant buildings to pay a monitoring fee to the City during the period of time the building remains vacant beyond a 90-day period or is boarded up by the City.  The fee amounts, if the ordinance meets final approval, will be set by City Council-approved resolution, Miller said.

The long-term boarded and vacant buildings ordinance, if it passes, will prohibit property owners from leaving their property boarded up, regardless of whether the owner boarded up the building or the City did, for a period of 30 days.

It also prohibits the existence of a vacant building for more than a 30-day period, said Miller, unless the building has an active permit for repair or rehabilitation, meets all codes, does not contribute to blight, and is actively being offered for sale, lease or rent, or the City’s building inspector determines to the building does not contribute to blight based on certain factors.

Both proposed ordinances received first-reading approval from the Council and will be presented for a public hearing, second reading and final approval during an upcoming meeting.

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