By Seth Kinker, firstname.lastname@example.org
On Nov. 19 the Manchester Village Council continued to discuss ordinances pertaining to vacant buildings in the downtown area.
The Manchester Downtown Development Authority (DDA) had done prior research on other areas around the state with ordinances pertaining to vacant properties downtown.
Village President Pat Vailliencourt, also on the DDA, talked to council about what other cities have done with their ordinances. Council discussion reiterated that it was a real issue, with two more vacant storefronts recently being added to the list of vacant storefronts downtown.
“We’ve got two buildings that have been vacant what, 12-15 years? “ said Vailliencourt.
At the village council meeting, the discussion centered around what the business owners, many of which are represented by the DDA, wanted to do. Vailliencourt touched on last year’s town hall meetings to discuss vacant buildings and what had been done.
Owners had talked to some of the building owners and gotten approval to use space for pop up markets, another weekly initiative started by the DDA to help bring more business to the downtown area.
Some of the business owners’ apprehension in passing the ordinances comes with the caveat of what if it really is difficult to rent the building at that time? They didn’t want to face potential fees if they may have been putting in a conscious effort to do so.
The DDA decided to wait on passing the ordinances at that time last year, but ordinance discussion has come up again as efforts to make downtown a travel destination continue with efforts from the village and business owners.
Vailliencourt brought the idea to council from the DDA for more discussion. Now, with the DDA having reached out to other business owners over the past year, the council wanted to hear more about what the DDA wanted to do. Vailliencourt reported that at their last two meetings, they’ve been interested in moving forward.
Before the next DDA meeting, Vailliencourt will bring expanded ordinance details back to the DDA before bringing a more Manchester detailed plan to council.
Council also discussed, down the road, if a potential ordinance were ever to go through, details on not only commercially vacant properties, but residential as well.