Massena to go after property code violators

The village of Massena Code Enforcement Office will be looking for code violations on properties, such as what used to be the Massena School of Business in downtown Massena. Bob Beckstead/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — With building season getting into full swing, the village’s Code Enforcement Office has been busy with issuing building permits, but they also continue to be on the lookout for property code violations.

“Building season is upon us and other things. They’ve also been busy trying to continue to tackle the problem with blight. We’re going to continue to be aggressive in going out there,” Deputy Mayor Matthew J. LeBire told village trustees.

He said trustees would be receiving some information about the Code Enforcement Office’s efforts this year.

“We have cited three initial properties, so they will need to take corrective action, submit a plan and remediate the issues,” Mr. LeBire said.

He said he realized money was an issue in taking corrective actions on some issues, but they weren’t all costly.

“I understand for some, money is a factor. But you don’t need money to clean up your yard. You don’t need money to take down something that’s broken,” he said. “Where it’s absolutely necessary, we will document that accordingly.”

Blighted property is addressed in Section 105.3 of the village code.

In some cases, the code enforcement officer may determine that a property is in a condition that poses a serious threat to safety, health and/or general welfare of the community. Properties can also be cited if they’re deemed a fire hazard, or if they’re determined to be unmaintained “based upon evidence of the persistent and continued existence” of several conditions.

Among the conditions are boarded windows, doors, entry ways or exits; broken or unsecured windows; broken or unsecured doors, entry ways or exits; excessive litter or debris; overgrown grass at least 6 inches or higher or other overgrown vegetation or shrubbery; or unregistered motor vehicles.

In the case of overgrown grass that’s not addressed by the property owner, the village will have it mowed and the cost will be added to the property tax bill. Village trustees have authorized Northrup’s Hilltop Nursery to mow properties that are cited by the Code Enforcement Office for tall grass, at a cost of $45 per lawn.

“We’ve worked with this company the last two years. We’ve got a good working relationship with them, and I think that will work well again for this summer,” Code Enforcement Officer Aaron Hardy said.

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