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The Telegram
  • Herkimer board discusses codes issues

  • The Herkimer village board will consider a local law requiring out-of-area property owners to appoint a local contact person.

    Tina Cirelli, of the Herkimer Now group, which is working to revitalize the village’s business district, presented the village of Dolgeville’s local law dealing with this matter to the board during Tuesday’s meeting.

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  • The Herkimer village board will consider a local law requiring out-of-area property owners to appoint a local contact person.
    Tina Cirelli, of the Herkimer Now group, which is working to revitalize the village’s business district, presented the village of Dolgeville’s local law dealing with this matter to the board during Tuesday’s meeting.
    When Herkimer Now members canvassed business people during its assessment, many of them concurred codes and property maintenance violations were among the biggest problems, according to Cirelli. She added when village officials receive complaints, they must spend time tracking down the property owner.
    “We hope this is something you could look at and we hope it helps with police and fire issues as well,” said Cirelli. She said Dolgeville’s law calls for any property owner who is 35 miles or more away from the village to appoint a local agent and place the contact information for that person on file with the village clerk. The law gives the property owner three chances to provide the information before fines of $100 to $500 are levied. Cirelli said fines would be levied weekly until the village receives the information requested.
    The purpose of the law is not to collect fines, Cirelli said, but she added, “It doesn’t back away from fines either.”
    Trustee Katherine Nichols said she had called the village of Dolgeville and learned the law had just been adopted in November and it was too soon to know how effective it would be.
    Police Chief Joseph Malone thought it would be more useful to require any property owners who live outside the village to appoint an agent.
    Nichols said she could see problems down the road if someone fails to comply and the matter winds up in court. “We could have the same backup in the courts that we do now,” she said.
    Village Clerk Amanda Viscomi said she has a list of the property owners with their contact information.
    Cirelli urged the board to take a look at the law.
    “We have properties owned by people from California, New Jersey, New York City and the police can’t find them,” she said. “We’re really hoping you’ll take a long look at this.”
    Village Attorney Nick Macri said he would prepare the law in the format he uses, make changes he thinks necessary and present it to the board its next meeting.
    Posted property
    A Park Place couple attended Tuesday’s meeting to raise concerns about a codes issue in their neighborhood.
    Sharon Lanza said she has lived in the neighborhood for more than 34 years and some of her relatives live there as well. Most of the neighbors maintain their homes and yards, but that is not the case at one house in the neighborhood.
    Page 2 of 2 - “We shouldn’t have to pick up their garbage from our lawns,” she said.
    She added garbage is left on the porches of the house at 5 South Park Avenue and rodents are frequently spotted. Roof tiles fall from the house and there are holes in the roof where birds can be seen flying in and out. She also questioned whether there might be illegal activities taking place there, given that they see people stop at the house and leave within a few minutes.
    “There’s human feces in the backyard,” added Tom Lanza.
    “I’m tired of hearing the codes enforcement officer is busy,” Sharon Lanza said. “I want the garbage picked up tomorrow. I want a health inspector to look at it and, if there’s a problem, to condemn it.”
    Trustee Harold Stoffolano told the Lanzas notices had been posted on the building Tuesday morning and a letter had been sent to the owner in New Jersey to advise her that the property could not be rented out until the codes violations were dealt with.
    “There’s no water or heat in there,” said Stoffolano. “The owner has been notified. It’s frustrating that it takes so long. It’s not that we haven’t been on it.”
    Tom Lanza said there were lights in the house when he came by.
    A question was raised about eviction, but Macri said the village has no legal authority to evict the tenants.
    As for cleaning up the garbage, he said the village must put the owner on notice. If the garbage is not taken care of by the deadline set, the village can have it cleaned up and add the cost to the owner’s property tax bill.

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