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Nuisance' law not yet ready

TICONDEROGA-Ticonderoga's proposed "nuisance" property law will have to wait at least another month.

The proposed legislation wasn't ready for a scheduled public hearing in March. Town board members then discussed holding a hearing prior to their April 14 meeting, but that won't happen either.

Tonya Thompson, town clerk, said the proposed law still isn't complete. Even if the measure is completed before the next town board meeting, state law requires that the public have 10 days to review the document before a hearing.

"It looks like the public hearing will actually be in May," Thompson said.

The proposed "nuisance" property law is an attempt by the Ti town board to spruce up dilapidated buildings, clean up garbage, eliminate junk and make the community more attractive.

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

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.

Trustee Steve 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 during its February meeting. 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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