Council votes 5-1 to OK rental registry

After heated discussion between Marietta City Council members and hearing statements both for and against from local residents, council voted in favor of a new requirement for all landlords owning rentals in the city–a registry.

Thursday in council’s meeting room in the Armory accusations of government overreach and requests for more time to craft a more tailored ordinance were parried by residents and council members looking to see immediate progress on the issue of blight, weeds, trash and issues with property maintenance within the city.

“The underlying reason for this registry that everyone seems to miss is that this is a gesture to be polite and call you before slapping on a fine,” said Safety-Service Director Jonathan Hupp. “So I thank council for passing this legislation.”

The registry requires owners of rental properties to provide the city’s code enforcement official with the following:

¯ Street address and parcel number of all rental properties.

¯ Number of housing units located within the city.

¯ Name, address and telephone number of a contact person (property manager).

¯ If the unit is owned by a partnership, trust, estate, association, limited liability corporation, corporation or the like, provide the name, address and phone number of:

¯ Each general partner, a trustee, executor or administrator, all managing associates, all members of an LLC, all officers of a corporation or all members of any other business entity in ownership.

¯ If the owner resides outside Washington County, the owner is required to designate a property manager as a contact person within the county.

¯ Owners must update any change of information within 30 days of the change.

The legislation was originally brought forward by the Planning, Zoning and Annexation Committee, headed by Councilwoman Sarah Snow, R-at large.

Though Snow was not present for the vote, Councilwoman Cindy Oxender, R-at large, said Snow had requested the piece be tabled pending further discussion and at the advice of City Law Director Paul Bertram.

Before the vote, Bertram asked council to consider tabling the issue for two weeks to consider how Nelsonville’s rental property registry works and to add a requirement for a registry of vacant properties and lots.

But Susan Boyer, chair of the ad-hoc advisory blight committee appointed by Snow and President of Council Josh Schlicher at the onset of the year suggested to council that they move along the legislation the committee had already advised in favor of.

Council passed the legislation 5-1 with Democrats Steve Thomas, 3rd ward, Mike McCauley, 2nd ward, Roger Kalter, 1st ward, Kathy Downer, at-large and Tom Vukovic 4th ward in favor and Oxender against.

“I’m disappointed that this passed tonight because I still think there are changes need but we have time to amend it before it takes effect,” said Bertram.

The legislation will take effect within 30 days of Acting Mayor Schlicher signing it and provides landlords six months to register all properties with the city.