GLENVILLE -- Town leaders are considering a change in the town's property maintenance law they hope could help it deal with graffiti being painted on railroad bridges.
The Town Board will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4, on a proposed amendment to its property maintenance law that would add graffiti to the list of items covered by the town's property maintenance law.
While the proposed law would apply to public and private properties townwide, Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle acknowledged the proposed law is being driven about concerns with graffiti "tagged" onto the two CP Rail bridges that cross Glenridge Road.
"Graffiti on public and private property is a blighting influence which not only depreciates the value of the property that has been the target of such graffiti but also depreciates the value of the adjacent and surrounding properties and, in so doing, negatively impacts upon the entire community," the draft law states.
The problem with graffiti on the bridges is a recurring one. Koetzle said that in one incident a couple of years ago, town employees cleaned off graffiti, and a railroad employee subsequently came to town hall to threaten arrest for trespassing if the town went onto the property again.
The issue has arisen again this summer, with new graffiti on the bridges. Koetzle said he wrote to a CP Rail manager in Clifton Park in mid-July, looking to get the graffiti painted over, and initially got no response. Following a second email, the railroad's bridge maintenance manager replied: "CP will not be painting over the graffiti on the bridge. I have copied in CP’s local law enforcement officer so that he is aware of the trespassing & vandalism that is taking place at the bridge, I suggest you pass this concern along to your local law enforcement as well. Hopefully their efforts will stop these actions from continuing!"
Koetlze then responded that the town would explore its options.
A CP Rail spokesman said the railroad would be concerned about the town adopting such a law.
"CP would be concerned with any law that could bring members of the public onto railroad property," spokesman Andy Cummings said. "CP personnel wear personal protective equipment and follow strict rules when performing any work on CP infrastructure. This is necessary for the safety of employees and railroad operations."
Under the town's property maintenance law, property owners are required to either clean or make repairs to the properties when there's an issue cited by the town, or the town can take care of the problem and bill the property owner. Adding a section on graffiti could make those rules apply to railroad property.
If there are no major objections, Koetzle said the Town Board will consider adopting the law during its Sept. 18 meeting.
The town is also considering installing surveillance cameras that could catch images of anyone defacing the bridges, Koetzle said.