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Town to lead voluntary clean-up effort

TICONDEROGA - Ticonderoga is due for a summer cleaning.

The Ticonderoga town board has made a commitment to spruce up dilapidated buildings, clean up garbage, eliminate junk and make the community more attractive.

Trustee Steve Whitford said the town will lead a voluntary town-wide clean up effort this summer, noting Ticonderoga has many properties in violation of town codes.

"We need to stop the garbage, junk cars and other things from piling up," he said.

Wayne Taylor, a town councilman, agreed the town has a problem with non-conforming properties.

"A run down or dangerous building affects the entire community," he said.

Trustee Jeff Cook agreed with the need to clean up the town. He suggested cleaning up the community one election district at a time until the job is complete.

The town board hopes residents will voluntarily clean up properties, but are preparing to deal with "nuisance" properties through law enforcement.

A public hearing on a proposed "nuisance" property law will be held Thursday, March 10, at 6 p.m. at the Community Building.

The proposed law claims the town board has identified properties that "substantially and seriously interfere with the interest of the public in the quality of life and total community environment, commerce in the town, property values and public health, safety, peace, comfort, conveniences and general welfare."

The proposed law allows for enforcement and penalties. The penalties include up to a $1,000 fine, suspension of a certificate of occupancy, closure of a building and "any action necessary to abate the nuisance, including but not limited to cleaning, painting, repairing or demolishing and building, structure or place" at owner expense.

"It gives the town the ability to take action," explained Matt Fuller, town attorney. "It's not something you'll use often, but it'll be there when you need it."

The proposed law, which would replace a series of other laws the town board feels are inadequate, has the support of the town public safety committee, the town police, the town codes enforcement office and the Ticonderoga Main Street Partnership, Supervisor Deb Malaney said.

Whitford said enforcing the law, if adopted, will be an emphasis this summer.

To make that point, he asked the town board to expand the town codes enforcement office.

The office now has a full-time and part-time employee responsible for inspecting properties. Whitford asked that the part-time position be made full-time.

Malaney said she understands the importance of code enforcement, but opposed making the second codes position full-time, citing budget constraints.

After discussion, the board agreed to a compromise. The part-time codes position will increase from 21 hours a week to 30.

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