Poll: Should Commercial Property Owners Pay a Fee for Empty Storefronts?

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Should landlords pay a fee when their storefronts are vacant? That's the question that a Boston City Council hearing will tackle on Tuesday.

District 6 City Councilor Matt O'Malley proposed a vacancy fee for landlords causing "high-end blight" in April.

"When properties remain vacant year after year, they create holes in the fabric of our communities," said O'Malley to Jamaica Plain News. "As we encourage investment in our neighborhoods, we must also make sure that investment benefits our neighbors. When storefronts and high rises are filled with people, they contribute to the community as well as to the property owner's bottom line. As more people and businesses move to our city, we should make sure we're using every tool in our policy toolbox to keep the city vibrant."

O'Malley said it's too early to put a monetary value on a vacancy fee, but he imagines it would be determined by the square footage and the value of property, as well as other variables. He said that he envisions that all commercial properties would be subject to the fee, no matter the size.

The hearing is at City Hall (5th Floor) at 2 pm on Tuesday, June 12th.

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