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Wbg. residents protest, town leaders agree to modify property upkeep law

Rich Larkin was one of a half-dozen or so Warrensburg citizens who aired criticisms Aug. 8 at a town meeting about a proposed local property maintenance law town officials are considering. A follow-up workshop on the law is set for 4 p.m. Sept. 5.

Rich Larkin was one of a half-dozen or so Warrensburg citizens who aired criticisms Aug. 8 at a town meeting about a proposed local property maintenance law town officials are considering. A follow-up workshop on the law is set for 4 p.m. Sept. 5. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Local residents confronted the Warrensburg Town Board with their criticisms of the proposed town property maintenance law, and the panel agreed to reconsider some of the pending ordinance’s provisions.

A workshop meeting to re-examine the ordinance has been set for 4 p.m. Wednesday Sept. 5, and the public is invited to attend and observe.

Criticisms were aired that the property maintenance law might be too strict, be selectively enforced, or be a burden on some homeowners to comply with.

Town officials countered that the proposed law was primarily a tool to force cleanup of abandoned and foreclosed properties in town.

Town Supervisor Kevin Geraghty said the law was also an effort to protect the property values of neighbors of unkempt properties.

The proposed ordinance forces property owners to mow their grass, remove dead limbs, trim their shrubs, repair unsound structures, and dispose of trash.

Not only are structures required to be kept in good repair, but their overhangs, gutters and canopies must be painted to prevent weathering. Fences and retaining walls, steps, walkways and driveways also need to be kept in good repair.

The law also prohibits accumulation of debris, and garbage cans with lids must be provided and used. The ordinance also prohibits placing food out for animals in a manner that allows pests, rodents or wild animals to be attracted to their property.

Although resident Rich Larkin praised the board with their work to improve the town, he also spoke of the hardship some residents might face in complying with the proposed law.

“Senior citizens on a fixed income might not be able to rebuild their porch, for instance,” he said. “We all want to improve Warrensburg, but do we send our seniors down the road if they can’t afford to live here? It’s a slippery slope you are walking on.”

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