A Philadelphia City Council committee has approved a bill lowering the fees assessed on vacant properties but some groups are still upset.
Even though the proposal cuts the fee from $750 to $300, Homeowners Association of Philadelphia Attorney Darrell Zaslow says council has no right to set higher fees for vacant properties compared to occupied ones.
“The same piece of paper the same application is the same document should carry the same fee,” said Zaslow. “It’s one piece of paper if a house is occupied or vacant it’s one piece of paper if a lot is occupied with a structure or vacant, it’s the same piece of paper which for $50 which is processed by L and I can be processed for $50 for the vacant lot as well.”
The vacant lot fee was increased last year to cover the cost of cleaning neglected lots.
The new bill also offers an exemption for lots situated directly adjacent to a house and for those that have been transformed into gardens.