LANDOWNERS who leave commercial blocks vacant would pay higher rates under a plan being considered by Bayswater council.
The differential rating would encourage landowners to develop derelict sites, which can lower the tone of the city and affect the value of neighbouring properties.
Councillor Elli Petersen-Pik says the plan “has the potential to reduce the burden on residential ratepayers, whilst also achieving other city objectives by setting higher rates on specific classes of land, such as noxious industry and many eyesore commercial vacant lots around our city”.
He says the Fremantle and Vincent councils currently have differential rates, and notes it almost doubles the landowners’ bill.
“Vincent justifies the application of differential rates on vacant commercial land on the basis that those lots are often unsightly and unkempt, and their development is in the best interests of the community as it will increase the street appeal and the vibrancy of town centres,” Cr Petersen-Pik says.
“We all know many examples of neglected sites in our wards. One high profile example, which many of you are aware of, is the vacant site owned by Coles on Guildford Road, in the middle of the Maylands town centre,” he said at the council’s last finance committee meeting.
Other eyesore blocks that could be slugged with double rates include the vacant lot at the corner of Peninsula Road and East Street, and the corner of King William St and Guildford Road (though there may be some good news on that latter site, with mayor Dan Bull saying he’d met with the developer and there’s something’s in the works).
Staff will now investigate the plan and bring it back to councillors in time for the 2018-2019 budget.
by DAVID BELL