This vacant residence and property in Warrensburg, represents the conditions that new property maintenance legislation — endorsed last week by the town leaders of Warrensburg and Lake George — is intended to prevent. Lake George’s new proposed Nuisance Abatement law goes further, imposing penalties for repeated incidences of unruly conduct of citizens and tenants. Recently, the yard of this particular vacant property has been cleaned up.
The village is seeking to pass legislation that prompts property owners and residents to clean up their acts, — whether it’s maintaining their properties or curbing illegal behavior.
Lake George’s Property Maintenance and Nuisance Abatement laws, expanded and amended, are both scheduled for public hearings at 7 p.m. Sept. 17.
The Property Maintenance law amendments include provisions that property owners must keep all exteriors of structures in sound and presentable condition, painted or treated with a protective coating, as well as free from loose shingles, crumbling masonry, or broken glass. Fences must be painted in earth-tones or white, and well-maintained.
Walks and driveways and parking spaces must be kept clean of litter, in good repair and cleared of snow and ice to allow safe passage.
With the amendment, porches must not only be kept in good repair, but they must not be used for storage.. The use of tarps or plywood to cover a building would be illegal except to protect a damaged structure — for a maximum of 90 days — while permanent repairs are being made.
Already, the law mandates that property owners or renters remove any dead or diseased tree limbs, prune trees and shrubs, and keep lawn grass or weeds from exceeding six inches, and be free of litter, trash and plant overgrowth.
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.
Property renters have the responsibility, as provided for in their rental agreement, to maintain their premises to the above standards.
Punishment for unruly behavior
The nuisance abatement law establishes a point system that provides strict enforcement provisions not only to the village’s property maintenance laws, but to unruly or illegal conduct of tenants of rental properties — and patrons of commercial establishments.
Such violations could include illegal use or sale of controlled substances, loitering, existence of illegal weapons on the property, behavior that prompts excessive police calls, or breaching village codes.
Each incident, including a code violation, would be assigned a value of four to six points.
Accumulation of 12 points within six months or 18 or more points within a year would trigger enforcement action.
Enforcement could include closing down a n establishment or forcing tenants or residents to vacate, and provide for fines of up to $1,000 and imprisonment for up to six months.
At their board meeting Monday Aug. 20, The village board voted unanimously to hold public hearings on the laws as extended and amended.
In other business, the board:
•approved a new fee schedule for the use of municipal venues for special events;
• heard that the new parking lot behind Giuseppe's restaurant is a rousing success and is raising robust revenue for taxpayers;
• heard that the village’s Oktoberfest event will be expanded and moved to Shepard Park — and will likely include barrel-rolling contests between taverns;
• is considering suspending parking fees during particular days or village events — As suggested by business owner Patty Kirkpatrick;
• may tweak their ordinance prohibiting exterior displays of merchandise so kiosks can be erected in the Village Mall;
• rejected a request from the village Fire Department to issue a new key so the agency could obtain fuel for an additional vehicle;
• heard from village wastewater superintendent Tim Shudt that restoring the sewage plant’s sand beds to original depth and cleaning them out could substantially reduce the ongoing problem of nitrates in the plants outflows;
• pledged renewed support of the South Warren Snowmobile Club with $2,500 per year primarily for trail maintenance;
• rejected a proposal for commissioning the painting of a canvas mural to be loaned out to business owners to place in their windows while their stores are under renovation;
• declared October as Bullying Awareness Month; and
• heard that the recent Aerial Assault beach pole vaulting event and the Lake George Music festival were both quite successful, with Mayor Robert Blais noting that the festival attracted “huge crowds.”
• joined with Mayor Blais in praising Town Clerk/Treasurer Darlene Gunther for prudent financial management. Blais noted that Gunther was “a miracle worker” for continuing to curb spending while building village financial reserves, all at a time that other area municipalities were struggling financially. He also praised Debra McKinney for her frugal work in purchasing.
“Darlene continues to perform her magic,” Blais said. ‘Her work never ceases to amaze me.”