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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.

— She said that she was concerned that after the town forces cleanup of 10 or so “atrocious” properties, town officials might go further and venture into dictating taste. The board members responded that this would not occur.

Robert Greene noted he owned 100 acres, and a portion of it had frontage on Main St.

The law, as written, would force the removal of limbs of trees back in his remote woods, far from the street and out of view, he said.

Greene also objected to the prohibition of setting out feed for animals. Also, the law could be interpreted, as written, to prohibit keeping firewood on one’s property, or a refuse container in one’s house, he said. “This law infringes on our freedoms,” Green said.

Geraghty later said he’d review the provisions with the town attorney to assure the ordinance wasn’t too strict.

Board member Bryan Rounds said the law would be used to clean up the most offensive properties. He said that the county and state codes already have similar mandates, and a local law means would allow faster enforcement that was more responsive to local situations and circumstances.

Alexander noted that some time ago, a property near his home posed a public health and safety hazard — and the neighbors circulated petitions — but they were stymied in their efforts to force a cleanup, in part due to lack of a local law.

Marcella said the town had received many complaints on property conditions, including one plot where a homeowner piled garbage in their car and in an unkempt back yard that contained an abandoned vehicle — conditions that posed a health hazard for those living in homes nearby.

“It’s a matter of reining in bad neighbors, “ she said. “People should have the right to protect their health and property values.”

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