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Town board passes local law on property maintenance, schedules public hearings

— 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.

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