Yesterday the Seattle City Council voted unanimously in favor of Council Bill 118971, legislation I was proud to co-sponsor in response to community requests to reform our city’s vacant building regulations. Seattle has seen a significant uptick in hazardous vacant buildings, which can pose serious risks to neighbors, transient occupants, and the first responders who must enter these buildings in the event of an emergency. Vacant building complaints have increased by 58% city-wide in the in the last five years. District 5 alone has seen over 200 vacant building complaints in the last three years. This legislation will strengthen property owners’ obligation to secure their vacant buildings, hasten the process for removing trash and debris from vacant buildings, and creates a brand-new expedited system for the demolishing of vacant buildings identified as public nuisances.
In committee, I introduced a successful amendment to halve the waiting period prior to demolition from one year to six months. Every month a building lays vacant there is a significant impact on public safety and health of transient occupants and neighbors. This legislation represents a huge step forward in holding property owners accountable as well as addressing our city’s public health and safety needs.
I would like to extend my thanks to the constituents who wrote in to my office regarding these regulations. We couldn’t have done this work without your support!