Maryland Bill Looks to Address Vacant Buildings - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Maryland Bill Looks to Address Vacant Buildings

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(Photo:WBOC) (Photo:WBOC)

CAMBRIDGE, Md.-  Vacant buildings are a problem, but how do you fix them?  What does it take to convince a property owner to fix it up?  That's a problem posed to many cities and counties, including the city of Cambridge.

"We need to come up with solutions that fit the kind of town we are.  There are clearly ideas that fit Cleveland or Baltimore, but they are not appropriate for Cambridge.  We have to get creative about how to solve this problem," said Cambridge Ward 3 Commissioner Frank Cooke.

One creative solution is Senate Bill 248.  The bill aims to allow municipalities to create a registry of vacant buildings, and create a fund to inspect and fix the vacant or blighted buildings.

The Dorchester Chamber of Commerce has just read the bill for the first time.

"Having a way to set something up and set up a fund to take care of those buildings or work on those buildings, make them better, and improve business communities, would be a good thing.  It could also be a bad thing depending on how it's administered and how it's done," said Executive Director Bill Christopher.

Some though are worried about incentivizing blight.

"I think it's a step towards the right direction, I just think that as with anything in the government, I see a lot of people taking advantage of it.  How far do I have to let it go until you give me money?" said David Heuer.

Not too far it turns out.   The bill also gives municipalities the ability to fine, and even hand out jail time for larger violations.

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