Train-spotting in Potsdam attracts attention

Now that all the festivities with the sesquicentennial in Copenhagen have ended, hopefully this event will have residents renew their civic pride of the village for bygone days.

Now is the time for the whole village to eliminate the ongoing junkyard conditions, which have taken on a life of their own.

Although the village passed a property maintenance law more than a decade ago, the previous Village Board of Trustees ignored it.

Now the pendulum is swinging in the opposite way with the recently elected Mayor Kenneth Clarke.

He has assured me that he will enforce the law, although it will create animosity with some of the violators.

Some may be friends or are family connected.

But duty calls.

The implementation of the law is on track, although Mayor Clarke has yet to appoint an official enforcement officer.

In the interim, he has assigned the task to Doran Johnson, a senior member of the village Public Works Department, to view the village properties.

Those properties in violation are noted in his report, which in turn was turned over to Village Clerk Sue Parker. She has mailed letters to all who are in violation.

The only problem with the site review procedure is that Mr. Johnson is not allowed to set foot on the property.

In order to be more visually precise, I suggested to Mr. Johnson that the village needs to acquire a drone to perform the surveillance, which would be less labor intensive and more cost effective.

During the June 27 meeting of the Village Board of Trustees, Lewis County Manager Ryan Piche spoke about an inner-municipal agreement with the Lewis County Code Department to adopt the state’s 42-page Standard Code for enforcing the property maintenance law.

To me, the downside would be that the village will have to rescind the existing village law.

The village needs to be leery of entering into a joint agreement with Lewis County, especially Mr. Piche’s department.

I’d rather have Copenhagen maintain home rule.

As for Lewis County’s track record of junkyard enforcement, it sure has been lacking in the village.

Lewis County issued the license in the year 2000. At the village May 30 village meeting, a Grove Street resident indicated that the fence does not totally encompass the entire property and lacks a gate to prevent access by children.

Mr. Piche’s department needs to perform an on-site inspection to detect any infraction from the requirements stated in the junkyard law and take appropriate action to correct or eliminate the problem totally.

John H. Drewes


Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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