It's clean-up time for residents in Van Buren.
On Tuesday Sept. 19, the town of Van Buren held a public hearing regarding a property maintenance law and then unanimously voted to pass the law.
"These are quality of life issues," said Van Buren Councilor Claude Sykes.
During the public hearing, many residents spoke about run down properties in their respective areas. Norma Goodman of Maple Road addressed the board about a property where rubbish lies in the yard and the lawn is never mowed. She also said the owner of the home has not responded to letters requesting maintenance to the property.
"It devalues our property," Goodman said.
One Van Buren resident complained about a neighbor who puts trash out on the curb for pick-up, yet doesn't pay for the service. The garbage collectors leave the trash on the curb and after a few days, the owner drags the trash back to the house and puts it under the deck. Another resident told the board about intrusive branches and debris being left on the side of the road.
"I am in favor of passing this resolution," said Mary Ann Patulski of Maple Road. "I am sure the board cares about the town and will pass this legislation and look out for property values."
No one spoke against the proposed law at the hearing.
Improving the town
"I would like to thank Dave Pringle (Van Buren Code Enforcement officer) and Claude Sykes for all their help," said Don Goodman of Maple Road. "There were no regulations that would help with these properties."
After the public hearing closed, the board members spoke about how there were no less than 20 properties to which the law would apply. They also added that the property maintenance was not unique to Van Buren, but was a problem for all towns.
The next step for the town is to contract out for needed maintenance work.
"Be patient with us until we get people contracted," said Van Buren Councilor Wendy Van Der Water.
The town covers the initial cost of maintenance and property improvement, then the county reimburses the town.