Jun 22, 2012 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
It was a longer than usual town board meeting Thursday, June 21, as the board approved a new local law on property maintenance, took action regarding unsafe buildings in the town and scheduled multiple public hearings.
Following up on discussions and issues from its previous meeting, the board unanimously approved Introductory Local Law 2012-B, “A local law amending the town code relating to property maintenance,” which will “provide minimum requirements and standards for sanitation, protection from the elements, life safety, safety from fire and other hazards and for safe and sanitary maintenance including the responsibility of the owners and occupants in order to protect the public health, safety and general welfare of the residents of this town.”
Specifically, the law will: require sufficient drainage to prevent building deterioration and the accumulation of stagnant water; prohibit grass and weeds in excess of 10 inches; prevent accumulation of rubbish and garbage on a property; allow no more than one unregistered motor vehicle parked, kept or stored on a property — with no vehicle allowed to be in a state of disrepair, wrecked or abandoned; and prevent unsanitary swimming pools that could accumulate stagnant water and therefore harbor mosquitos or create other conditions for a public health hazard. Also, all vacant buildings on a property must be locked or otherwise secured and be maintained in a safe and sanitary condition to prevent community blight or affect public health or safety.
Before approving the law, the board held a public hearing on it. Three residents spoke and asked questions, and all thought the law was a positive idea.
Town resident Fran Fish questioned one section of the proposed law regarding maintenance of swimming pools, which states that pools must be kept properly chlorinated. Fish asked about saltwater pools, of which she said there are a few in Skaneateles, and how the law would address non-chlorinated pools.
After a brief discussion, the board agreed to amend the proposed law to include wording concerning all types of swimming pools to be “properly maintained.”
The law, approved with that one emendation, will now be filed with the secretary of state and will take effect in about 10 days, said Town Supervisor Terri Roney.
In a similar but separate matter, the town board also approved a resolution to allow Town Code Enforcement Officer Debbie Williams to send notices of required action to owners of two unsafe buildings within the town, one on Stump Road and one on Heifer Road. The board agreed with Williams’ assessment that both buildings are unsafe and should be demolished.
The resolution approved notification to the owners and the scheduling of public hearings for each property, one for 7:05 p.m. and one for 7:10 p.m. Thursday, July 19.
Under the current town code, the owners will have 30 days from receipt of notice to act on the town’s request. If not action is taken, the town has the authority to do the demolition work itself.
The town has not torn down any unsafe properties since 2006, according to Williams.
Also at the meeting:
—Roney stated that recent negotiations with the Skaneateles Recreation Charitable Trust concerning the old Skaneateles Community Center have amounted to an agreement for the SRCT to pay the town $50,000 in three monthly installments for the purchase of town assets they have been using with the rink since 2010, and $18,500 in monthly installments to the town for the purchase of an Olympia ice resurfacer and its associated equipment. The board also agreed to seek a state court or state attorney general opinion on the status of $78,000 in town reserve funds. The funds originated and were paid out of the W.G. Allyn Trust for the benefit of the community for ice rink capital expenditures. Because of trust restrictions and issues of municipal law, the town board agreed to ask for a “higher authority’s opinion” to asses the situation, verify that the money can be returned to the Trust and the manner in which it should be done.
—The board scheduled a public hearing for 7:20 p.m. Thursday, July 19, to consider the possible transfer of property from the town to Grace Chapel. The hearing will discuss the town’s “right of reversion” concerning the property and also a separate issue of easement release.
—The results of a study commissioned by Councilor Steve McGlynn showed that for its first year after resuming management of the Austin Park Pavilion ice rink, the town lost slightly more than $1,000 in expenses versus revenues. The higher-than-expected expenses came mostly from the unexpected breakdown of the Zamboni and necessity to rent a different Zamboni for the season. The figures show that the town board’s decision to resume management of the rink was not a bad move, Roney said.
—Roney announced correspondence with the Stauffer Chemical Company concerning site cleanup at its 4512 Jordan Road facility. Local residents will “see more activity there” starting on July 9 when the company begins further creek and stream cleanup activities, the company stated. The company first will meet with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation staff on June 29 to discuss the work. The company already has removed tens of thousands of tons of contaminated soil from the site and will continue its environmental work to clean the site to a commercial-level grade. If the work goes well, the site should be totally cleaned and finished within two years, according to Stauffer Chemical. The town board agreed to schedule a hamlet meeting in mid-September where DEC staff and the property owner will discuss with the community the status of the cleanup.
—The board approved the expenditure of $5,535 to upgrade the town offices desktop computer software on 15 computers from Microsoft Office 2003 to Microsoft Office 2010.
—The board approved a change in its carrier for workers’ compensation insurance from The Statewide Insurance Fund & Lovell to the New York State Workers’ Compensation Alliance. The change will save a small amount of premium expenses but was undertaken more because the town has been unhappy with certain aspects of its current coverage.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.