The Saratoga Sun -

Nuisance ordinance set to go

Saratoga set to send unofficial letters of possible violations

 


A new nuisance ordinance will take effect in the town of Saratoga starting Sept. 1, but those believed to be in violation will have time to come into compliance with the new rules.

The new ordinance is intended to address public health and safety hazards around town, as well as beautify the town, according to Planning Commission and Saratoga Town Council member Will Faust.

Beginning Sept. 1, those believed to be in violation of the nuisance ordinance will begin receiving letters informing them of the new ordinance, and that they are likely in violation.

The letters are not a formal notice, Faust said, but rather are intended to notify those in violation so they will have the opportunity to correct the problem before enforcement begins in earnest.

“What we’re going to do is hopefully just letting folks know that we’re going to start enforcing this,” Faust said. “We’re trying to give concerned citizens as much time as possible to get the problems or issues fixed on their own time.”

The non-formal notices will also help town officials get help for those who are unable to bring their property into compliance.

“We have folks in our community that may not be able to clean up because of age or a disability or something like that,” Faust said. “We want to make sure that if somebody needs help we’re giving them every opportunity.”

For those who may not be able to clean or otherwise rectify any potential violations, town officials will help connect them with volunteers or others who will help those in need of assistance in cleaning up.

The first priority for the town will be cleaning up areas of public thoroughfare, like sidewalks and alleyways. “From a public safety standpoint that’s where we’re really going to start focusing first,” Faust said.

Eventually the town will begin to send formal violation notices to those who don’t come into compliance with the law, but it is not clear when the ordinance will be more strictly enforced. For now, the goal is to try and get everyone in compliance without resorting to legal penalties, Faust said.

The goal should be to enforce the law as compassionately as possible, Faust said, and ensuring that those who need help bringing their properties into compliance with the new ordinance are given every possible resource to do so.

Despite some protest from some quarters of the town, Faust said everyone who spoke to him about the new ordinance was in favor, and there were no people lodging objections about the law at any of the public hearings about the law.

“A change like this is always going to have controversy,” Faust said. “I’m a big proponent of private property rights and that sort of thing but what we have to look at really carefully is that if there is a situation that endangers public safety, or we have hazards within the right of way or it potentially affects your neighbor’s property value, that’s where the town the come in.

“It’s not more of me telling you that you need to pick your stuff up, it’s more of a sense of pride in our community.”

The town’s nuisance ordinance can be read online at http://qcode.us/codes/saratoga title 8, or copies of the ordinance are available at town hall.

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