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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.

— Richelene Morey objected to how extensively the law was written. Board members responded that it was written with such provisions to prevent a variety of situations that degrade local quality of life and depress property values.

She warned that although the present board might not intend to strictly enforce the law, a subsequent board might be over-aggressive in its enforcement.

“You might not be here in several years — You need to tweak this law,” she said. Morey objected to how extensively the proposed law mandated snow cleanup.

Geraghty later responded that this provision, which was partially duplicated in existing town law, would likely be scrapped.

Larry Perna of River St. said property owners shouldn’t be forced to paint their houses.

Geraghty responded that the proposed law didn’t require painting house siding. The proposed law, however, requires a “weatherproof coating,” like paint or varnish, of virtually anything affixed to a house. Geraghty and Deputy

Supervisor John Alexander said this provision would be subject to further discussion.

“We’re not going to be the paint police,” Alexander said. Some residents criticized the provision that lawns must be mowed, and grass must not exceed 10 inches in height.

Board member Linda Marcella responded that long grass hosted rodents and ticks, posing a threat to public health.

Perna noted that the grass on some town-owned properties was now over a foot tall. “Who’s going to tell the town to clean up their properties?” he asked.

Geraghty responded later he appreciated the input, and that town officials would take care of such issues.

Resident Tina Sackman said the board should be careful not to be too extensive in their prohibitions, as a mixture of lifestyles is what made Warrensburg interesting.

“I came from a ‘Stepford Wives’ suburban neighborhood,” she said. “I love how people here have their own sense of style.”

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