Vacant and Blighted Property Testimony

Councilmember Bowser and Councilmember Evans held a joint hearing  yesterday on B18-546 and B18-448.  Both bills are an attempt to better define who gets hit with the city’s super-tax on problem buildings, which was essentially eliminated right as it started to produce results. I testified yesterday on four key points that I believe need to be addressed in the bills.

  • Keep the vacant property registration system.
  • Include ANCs in the exemption process.
  • The proposed “blighted” classification is too subjective. An objective system, such as DMV-style points, should be considered.
  • Vacant (but not “blighted”) properties are still a problem. Multi-year vacancies must also be taxed at a higher rate to promote their productive use.

My full testimony can be downloaded here.  You can watch the full meeting online here.  (My testimony begins at about 3:35:00, and then there is some Q&A at the end of the panel.)