The best laid plans


I intended to write this op/ed article on vacant land in town and what it costs to hold on to that land. My overly focused research goals (read: anal) did not allow me to finish that article in time for this week’s paper.

In the meantime, I was inspired by the two longest police reports I have seen since I have been at the Sun. It seems our town’s finest (the Saratoga Police Department) are taking direction from the mayor and cracking down on traffic violations. I suggest that following Ordinance No. 896, otherwise known as the Nuisance Ordinance, would be a good addition to the town’s new focus on policing.

Even without a zoning officer in place (not that the nuisance ordinance was enforced by the former zoning officer) the town can start making things look a little better.

The Wyoming Economic Development Association (WEDA) cites that “curb appeal” is important to the retention of existing businesses and recruitment of new business. By “curb appeal” WEDA means a town that doesn’t have lots full of trash or weeds. Other economic development guidelines suggest that no one wants to relocate to an area that is a mess.

On my way home from work, only about eight city blocks, I pass several properties that do not meet the city’s code as a nuisance, even though there are abandoned vehicles, abandoned trailer homes or weeds growing into the street.

Let’s get this straight, we’re not trying to be Boulder Colo. Our current code allows for “The accumulation or storage of more than four (4) derelict, abandoned, wrecked, dismantled, unlicensed or inoperative vehicles, or derelict, abandoned, wrecked, dismantled equipment, trailers, motor homes, litter or junk on private or public property, is hereby found to create a condition tending to reduce the value of private property, to promote blight and deterioration, to invite plundering, to create fire hazards, to constitute an attractive nuisance creating a hazard to the health and safety of minors, to create a harborage for insects, rodents, skunks and other vermin and to be injurious to the health, safety and general welfare of the public. Therefore, the presence of litter, or such derelict, abandoned, wrecked, dismantled, equipment, trailers, or motor homes or more than four (4) abandoned, derelict, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicles, or unlicensed vehicles, on private or public property, except as expressly permitted by the Governing Body of the Town of Saratoga, is declared to constitute a public nuisance which may be abated as such in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. It is unlawful for any person to maintain any nuisance on any property within the Town. Any person who may be in violation of this section shall, in addition to any penalty that may be imposed for the violation of this code, be subject to the provisions of this chapter.”

Take a walk down River Street between Bridge Avenue and Main Avenue and you will see folks that have junk flowing over onto city sidewalks and compromising our town’s prime property.

I’ve been told by multiple folks around town that they don’t want our town to crack down on how people choose to live their lives and keep their yards.

I would argue that properties filled with junk are a hazard to our emergency first responders and keep tourists and potential residents from returning to Saratoga.

Saratoga appears to be a “nice little town” according to my friends and family that have visited in the three-and-one-half years since I moved here. People also comment on how “dirty” it seems. Properties with weeds and junk flowing into the street and sidewalks are making us less attractive, both to tourists and potential residents.


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