City council addresses vacant buildings, partners with AHIDTA


Ryan Fischer

Mayor Steve Williams speaks at the City Council meeting Monday.

Huntington’s City Council approved an ordinance regarding vacant buildings 6-2 during the city council meeting Monday evening.

The ordinance, sponsored by councilwoman Joyce Clark, will prevent the use of buildings in residential zones as storage, unlicensed businesses or other unoccupied uses regardless of the state of utilities.

Mayor Steve Williams said vacant buildings put adjacent residential homes and businesses at risk.

“Between 2003-2006 in the United States there were an average of 31,000 fires in vacant homes per year,” Williams said. “Of those, 63 percent were in residential structures.”

The new ordinance will allow one year for owners to lawfully occupy vacant buildings. If the building has not been occupied by then the city will assess a 20-cent per square foot fee.

“We believe this is a thoughtful, detailed ordinance that will allow us to be able to give them [vacant building owners] an incentive to put their properties in productive use,” Williams said.”

Garage apartments and other accessory buildings attached to a residence are excluded from the ordinance.

An ordinance authorizing the mayor to enter into an intergovernmental agreement between the Huntington Police Department and Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas was unanimously approved.

Chief of Police, Joe Ciccarelli said the ordinance will allow AHIDTA access to the Huntington Police Department’s drug intelligence.

“This will facilitate intelligence exchange, specifically drug intelligence, throughout the member agencies of Appalachia HIDTA, as well as HIDTA’s nationwide,” Ciccarelli said.

As a result of the agreement, AHIDTA will provide the Huntington Police Department with $20,000 to offset costs.

An ordinance to furnish the city’s sanitation division with one new cubic yard cab and chassis with refuse packer was approved with a unanimous vote.

An ordinance regarding collective bargaining agreements between the City of Huntington and F.O.P. Goldstar Lodge #65 was moved to a second reading. An ordinance regarding collective bargaining between the city and Local 598, Council 77, American Federation of State, county and municipal employees and AFL-CIO was also moved to a second reading.

The council also confirmed the appointments of Liza Caldwell and Brandi Jacob-Jones for their first term to the Huntington Urban Renewal Authority.

Clara Maynard can be contacted at [email protected].