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Introduced Version Senate Bill 221 History

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SB221 intr
Senate Bill No. 221

(By Senators Tomblin (Mr. President) and Caruth,

By Request of the Executive)


[Introduced January 14, 2010; referred to the Committee on Government Organization.]


A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §8-12-16c, relating to authorizing any municipality to enact by ordinance a vacant property registration program; authorizing the assessment and collection of registration fees; and requiring certain procedures for administration and enforcement.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §8-12-16c, to read as follows:

§8-12-16c. Registration of vacant buildings; registration fees; procedures for administration and enforcement.

(a) The governing body of a municipality shall have plenary power and authority to establish by ordinance a vacant building registration program. For purposes of this section, the term "vacant building" means a building or other structure that is unoccupied, or unsecured and occupied by one or more unauthorized persons for an amount of time as determined by the ordinance; however, a new building under construction may not be considered a vacant building. The ordinance of the municipality may provide additional exceptions to the definition of vacant building.
(b) An owner of real property subject to registration may be charged a fee in such amount or amounts as provided by the ordinance. The ordinance shall provide administrative procedures for the administration and enforcement of registration and payment and collection of the registration fees.
(c) The ordinance may require that when the owner of the vacant building resides outside of the state that the owner provide the name and address of a person who resides within the state who is authorized to accept service of process and notices of fees due under this section on behalf of the owner and who is designated as a responsible, local party or agent for the purposes of notification in the event of an emergency affecting the public health, safety or welfare.
(d) The ordinance may authorize the municipality to file a lien on real property for unpaid and delinquent vacant building registration fees. Before any lien is filed, the municipality shall give notice to the property owner or owner's agent, by certified mail, return receipt requested, that the municipality will file the lien unless the delinquent fees are paid by a date stated in the notice, which must be no less than thirty days from the date the notice is received by the owner or the owner's agent, which shall be the date of delivery shown on the signed certified mail return receipt card. The ordinance may provide for alternative means of service when service cannot be obtained by certified mail.
(e) The ordinance shall permit a property owner to challenge any determination made pursuant to the ordinance. The administrative procedures adopted pursuant to the ordinance shall include the right to appeal to the circuit court of the county in which the property is located. The circuit court shall consider the appeal under its general authority, including but not limited
to subsection (f), section two, article two, chapter fifty-one of
this code.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to authorize the registration of vacant buildings by municipalities and to authorize imposition of registration fees on such properties.

This section is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.
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