City of Fort Wayne Commercial Code

The Commercial Code outlines standards and guidelines for commercial buildings and areas that promote public health and safety and maintain the aesthetics of the community. Click the link below to search for the full text of the code in chapter 150.

Minimum Conditions and Maintenance of Commercial, Industrial and Other Property or Premises

BACKGROUND
Commercial Code (Chapter 150): Minimum Conditions and Maintenance of Commercial, Industrial and Other Property or Premises

Summer 2008: The Commercial Ordinance, Chapter 150, was developed by the City of Fort Wayne and Neighborhood Code Enforcement (NCE) to create a “Minimum Maintenance Standards for Commercial, Non-Residential, and Mixed-use Structures”. This regulation focuses on buildings that are vacant, abandon, or blighted that may be in need of repairs. The Code, which sets standards for the safety and preservation of commercial property, provides clear directives to NCE in its duty to enforce the ordinance. The goal of NCE is to ensure that these properties are maintained and up to code.

ASSOCIATION POSITION

The REALTOR Association is very supportive of initiatives that maintain and beautify the community while promoting public health and safety. However, these initiatives should NOT impose overly restrictive regulations and unnecessary financial burdens upon private property owners.

As such, the REALTOR Association has the following concerns with the Commercial Code as originally written:

•Some of the requirements duplicate existing regulation.
•Some of the language is vague making it difficult for property owners to understand what is required.
•Other provisions unreasonably regulate aesthetic concerns unrelated to public health and safety.
•There potentially exists an increased financial and administrative burden on the City as well as additional cost to the affected property owner.
•This Code does not outline any Standard Operating Procedures or fine structure.
•The appeals process (from the Residential Code) has been amended — eliminating the Advisory Board and replacing it with a single hearing officer. The new process removes the “checks and balances” system created by a diverse Advisory Board and does not provide a mechanism to deal with any conflict of interest that may arise.

STATUS UPDATES
July 2008 to January 2009: In cooperation and collaboration with the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce, the REALTOR Association seized many opportunities to meet with City officials and discuss the issues and concerns with the Commercial Code. As a result, the language in the ordinance was clarified and the Safe Housing and Building Oversight Committee was given an expanded role. The Committee now has the appellate authority to review cases stemming from the hearing officer’s proceedings. The REALTOR Association sees the expanded role of the Committee as a major improvement in the ordinance.

January 27, 2009: The Fort Wayne City Council held a public hearing regarding the proposed Commercial Code. After hearing the testimonies of concern citizens, the Apartment Association, the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce, and the REALTOR® Association, City Council decided to hold its decision until City Attorneys were able to draft an amendment that addressed some of the concerns.

February 23, 2009: The City Council unanimously voted to approve the Commercial Code with several amendments (described above).

April 28, 2009: City Councilwoman Brown made an amendment to the Commercial and Residental ordinances, which added a reserved seat on the Safe Housing and Building Oversight Committee for a REALTOR® member. This amendment was approved by City Council. Visit the City of Fort Wayne website to view the current Commercial Code ordinance

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