Law toughens enforcement against blight

City officials said Thursday that they already have some houses in mind as Gloversville’s new proper
An apartment complex in downtown Gloversville is on a list for blighted properties.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
An apartment complex in downtown Gloversville is on a list for blighted properties.

City officials said Thursday that they already have some houses in mind as Gloversville’s new property and building nuisance abatement act takes effect.

The law, adopted Tuesday, is designed to enhance enforcement powers in the battle against blight and the contributing behavior problems that cause a deterioration of the quality of life in various neighborhoods.

Under provisions of the law, specific points are assigned and accumulate for specific crimes and code violations at a single address.

When point thresholds are met, violators of the new law will be served with a City Court appearance ticket. Penalties may range from an order to abate an identified nuisance to a fine of $1,000 to the closing of the building for up to six months.

Gloversville’s law, under study for more than a year, is modeled on 2000 legislation adopted in Glens Falls.

“They went through it piece by piece and made it fit the city of Gloversville,” Mayor Tim Hughes said of the Common Council committee that prepared the proposal adopted this week.

Hughes said the new law will be particularly effective in addressing some neglected properties owned by absentee landlords.

Hughes said city officials may be using the law at 82 Fremont St., where he said there have been 39 police calls in the past six months.

“I just hope it’s strict enough,” Hughes said of the law.

Fire Chief Douglas Edwards said the new law will not significantly change the way his firefighters conduct their code enforcement duties. Under the new law, he said, a second violation at a property will trigger provisions of the nuisance law. Points will accrue and will have to be monitored.

Since the law bridges both property code violations and police matters, Edwards said his department will have to coordinate with the Police Department.

Police Capt. James Lorenzoni said Thursday he anticipates no difficulties in tracking an individual property’s nuisance score. When the thresholds are hit, he said, appearance tickets will be served.

The threshold is achieved by a single felony offense, three instances of marijuana use, three instances of disorderly conduct, two building code violations in the same year, three instances of loud music or other noise, three instances of a noisy animal and three instances of fighting or lewdness.

Lorenzoni said he is aware of a number of properties that he expects will be subject to the law.

Hughes said the new law, with its option of closing properties, provides a much more effective anti-blight tool than the simple fines afforded under existing city law.

Categories: Schenectady County

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