Solvay board, residents prep to 'take back village'

Solvay residents say they are tired of watching their village deteriorate. They blame absentee landlords and irresponsible property owners.

The Solvay village board, backed by an audience of about 30 residents, passed a new local law last week targeting the owners of rundown properties as the first step in 'taking back the village.'

The new law establishes a registration and inspection program for rental properties within Solvay, permitting code enforcement officers to enter the property and inspect for safety, inside and out.

This will bring landlords that don't want to take care of their properties up to code, said village trustee Kathleen Marinelli, who also chairs the codes committee responsible for the law.

Marinelli pointed out the law will not hurt landlords already responsible and maintaining properties, or penalize owners of older homes not built to today's standards.

Residents present at the meeting voiced concerns over the influx of new residents to the village, attracted by lower monthly rent and electricity costs Solvay offers.

We must change our laws to apply to what's going on, said Arnold Gozzi, of Huntshill Road. I still believe it's a good place to life and bring up children, and I want to see it stay that way.

Three years ago, the committee attempted to pass a similar law, but was shot down by public outcry.

Marinelli said the overwhelmingly positive response of both residents and landlords to the 2008 law was in sharp contrast to the first attempt, and much of the proposed law was rewritten.

The town of Geddes does not currently have a registration or inspection program, but town councilor Manny Falcone, who attended the Solvay meeting last week, said he thought it was not a bad idea.

Among concerns of domestic violence, drug traffic and other criminal behavior was a prevalent concern among audience and board members was the perceived abundance of registered sex offenders living in rental properties in Solvay.

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