A Village Board Public Hearing on January 17th considered community input on two new proposed local laws.

Take a good look at the proposed Unsafe Buildings Local Law. (Note: of you can't download pdf files, try this link instead.)

As worded, this law provides that if a house you own is unoccupied for two years -- even if it is safe, secure, well maintained, and paid up on taxes -- it will be condemned and demolished by order of our Code Enforcement Officer, Doug Staley. Period. No approval by the Community Preservation Panel or Planning Board required. And should your garage roof leak or the siding of your barn be damaged, he can declare the structure unsafe and require its demolition. Here are some select quotes:
"Any building or structure that has been vacant...for a period of two years or more shall be considered abandoned and unsafe and shall have any Certificates of Occupancy...permanently rescinded. Such buildings shall be condemned, demolished and removed within 60 days of the second anniversary of occupant vacancy."

An "unsafe building [is] any building or structure that has its roof, siding, or any other surface breached to the interior such that water, vermin, other pests or persons can enter. Such buildings...shall be considered uninhabitable and unstable, and be demolished and removed."
It seems that every community may now be required by NYS to have an Unsafe Buildings Local Law. But it need not be the one offered to the Aurora Trustees by Doug Staley. Compare his proposal to the much more fair and sensible laws adopted in Skaneateles and Geneva.

The second proposed law under consideration is based on a sample model provided by NYS for The Administration and Enforcement of the NYS Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code.

The model does not provide for an elected official to participate in the enforcement process, as has always been the case in Aurora. While NYS has gotten stricter about the training required for those employed to act as code inspectors, it does not require the elimination of elected officials from oversight in code administration and enforcement.

As proposed, this law would put absolutely all aspects of code enforcement in the hands of an employed agent (Doug Staley) whose motivation in submitting these self-serving proposals may be open to question.

A report on the Public Hearing may be found in a 1/19/07 entry on the Feedback Forum.

And the official minutes of the meeting are on the Village Web Site.

Page created February 1, 2007; updated 4/14/07.