Lehigh Valley

Registry to keep track of vacant, blighted properties in Easton

Easton to start registry of blighted properties

EASTON, Pa. - Blighted properties can bring down an entire neighborhood, but they may now be getting an eviction notice in Easton.

Mayor Sal Panto said there are a lot of blighted properties in the city. Now, the city council has figured out a way to at least keep track of who owns them.

"Any property that becomes vacant through foreclosure, or people just move out and let it go, family problems, or whatever it is, they have to register it," said Panto.

The registry will be kept by an independent company.

Each property, residential or business, must have a local agent to keep the property landscaped and repaired, when needed.

There is a fee to register and a charge each year the property remains vacant. The first year charge is $250, and the charge can go as high as $5,000 a year after 20 years of vacancy.

"The reason we are trying to do that is to try to help people either decide to sell it or do something with it,"added Panto.

City officials said they hope by adding the registry and fee, they will be able to locate out of state property owners, even if the property is bank-owned due to foreclosure.

People also hope it will be the first step in cleaning up a lot of neighborhoods.

"Neighborhoods are the life blood of the city," said Panto. "If your neighborhoods don't look attractive and aren't clean and safe, people aren't going to move into them."

City leaders said they still need to hire a company that will monitor the registry. They will be putting out the request for proposals in the next couple weeks.

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