Alderman: Downtown building owners need to be held accountable

PAXTON — Alderman Alan Meyer said he thinks the owners of downtown buildings should be held just as accountable for dilapidated buildings as the owners of homes in residential areas.

Meyer pointed out during the Nov. 13 Paxton City Council meeting that residential owners receive letters ordering them to clean up their properties or face fines, but he said that is not happening in the downtown.

There are numerous buildings downtown that are vacant but that are being used to store items, Meyer said. He said the downtown looks “trashed up.”

Meyer also said that, according to Paxton’s zoning ordinance, the buildings should be used for retail. But in some instances, he said, there is evidence that people are living in several of the buildings at ground level, which violates the zoning ordinance.

“We have a bunch of empty buildings that can’t be used,” said Meyer.

Mayor Bill Ingold said there are plans in the works to address at least one downtown building once a proposed tax increment financing district is implemented. Ingold said perhaps once that is done, then the city can stiffen its zoning ordinance.

But Alderman Bill Goben said he saw no purpose in strengthening the existing ordinance.

“Let’s enforce the laws we have,” said Goben.
 

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