The Saratoga Sun -

Nuisance on line

Saratoga council runs through routine matters, readies to send nuisance letters, gets PUD prepped for passage


The Saratoga Town Council held its first meeting of September, and quickly worked its way through the meeting agenda, only slowing to address some constituent concerns about the town’s new nuisance ordinance that came into effect Sept 1.

During the meeting, the council worked its way through the agenda, receiving reports from department heads without much of a hitch, but during public comments, things got a little heated as concerns about the nuisance ordinance came up. Toward the end of the meeting, Mayor Ed Glode said the first reading of the town’s proposed Planned Unit Development ordinance (PUD) should be ready for a first reading at the council’s next meeting.

Two residents informed the council there were skunks and feral cats living in or around an abandoned house near their home. The residents said they were concerned about possible problems with rabies from the population of animals, and said they were there to find out what the town intends to do about the problem in light of its new nuisance ordinance.

The town’s nuisance ordinance was enacted earlier in the year by the town council and just became active Sept. 1. The ordinance allows the town to take action against property owners whose properties pose health and safety risks.

Council member Will Faust told the residents the town had written a letter that would begin to hit mailboxes later this week. The letter, he said, would be an attempt to notify potential violators they might be in violation of the ordinance and give the property owners time to abate the issues before formal enforcement actions are taken.

The town was taking a softer approach with the ordinance to allow people time to fix issues and work with the town before stricter enforcement begins, Faust said.

“We have drafted what we perceive to be a fairly non-threatening letter,” Faust said. “I know it can be frustrating but as a government body we’ve got to give folks the opportunity to fix the problem on their own.”

The residents, frustrated, said they were deeply concerned about the state of the abandoned property and the wild and feral animals living there, as well as the threat of disease. The cat living at the property appeared pregnant and would likely have another litter before long, the person said.

Several town council members suggested courses of action regarding the property the residents could take. Council members then questioned whether the state trapper could be brought in to remove the skunks.

Bringing in the state trapper would likely incur fees to the town, Town Clerk Susie Cox told the council.

After hearing residents’ concerns, Glode promised action, saying the town would contact the owner of the property harboring the animals. Glode assured the person the town would look into the issue and take measures to fix the problem.

Another proposed ordinance, the PUD ordinance, which is intended to allow the town to approve new development projects around town on a case-by-case basis more flexibly than the present zoning schema allows, will likely have its first reading during the council’s next meeting 6 p.m. September 19 at town hall.

The ordinance will have to be read at three town hall meetings before it can be voted on by council members. Members of the public will also have the opportunity to address the proposed ordinance at those meetings.

That vote, Glode said, would likely come by October.


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