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Town Seeks Public Comment On Blight Ordinance

A draft of the conflicted ordinance has been finalized, a public hearing date is set.

 

The Town Council set a date to hear public comments on a proposed blight ordinance for the Town of Ledyard Wednesday. Town officials believe that blighted properties around town are bringing down property values and pose a threat to the health, safety and general welfare of residents.

Drafts of an ordinance have been kicking around for at least two years. Some people say the town should enforce the current zoning regulations and  “leave well enough alone,” others say there is a definite problem of junk piles in Gales Ferry and Ledyard.

The ordinance doesn’t stray or differ greatly from the building code and zoning regulations in place now but it does establish a way for the town to cite residents for violations and initiate legal proceedings.

Right now, regulations prohibit “junk” from being “placed, stored, co-located, or maintained outside on any lot in any district.” And, only one hobby vehicle can be located in a side or rear yard and must be screened from public view.

The town says no more than one vehicle with an expired registration can be stored or parked outside, but also, that vehicle must be in good enough condition that it can be registered at any time.

The Ordinance's Definition of Blight

Any building, structure, premises or any part of a structure that is a separate unit, in which any of the following or any combination of the following conditions exists:

A. It is in a condition which poses a serious threat to the safety, health, and general welfare of the community as determined by the Director of Health, Zoning Enforcement Officer, Fire Marshall or Building Official.

B. Abandoned/vacant building structure as defined in Section 117.1.1 of the 2009 Amendment to the 2005 State Building Code that has become an illegal residence as documented by the police.

C. It is not being maintained and contributes to housing decay, as evidenced by one or more of the following existing conditions, or combination thereof:

a) Any structure which is in a state of dilapidation or decay or is open to the elements or unable to provide shelter or serve the purpose for which it was constructed due to damage, dilapidation or decay;

b) Premises containing accumulating debris; and

c) Landscaping on any premises, including, but not limited to, trees, shrubs, hedges, grass and plants, which physically hinder or interfere with the lawful use of abutting premises or block or interfere with the use of any public sidewalk and/or private street or right-of-way or any road sign.

D. It is attracting illegal activity as evidenced by the following:

a) Multiple felony or misdemeanor arrests on the premises;

b) Abandoned and/or vacant building or structure devoid of water, sewer, utility function or service, that has become an illegal residence.

E. Is a fire hazard as determined by the Fire Marshal or documented via fire department records;

F. The premises creates substantial and unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of surrounding premises as reported by neighborhood complaints, fire, public safety or health department reports.

A full copy of the proposed ordinance is linked here and on the town's website.

The public will have a chance to discuss the town’s proposed ordinance on Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the Town Hall Annex.

Cathy September 27, 2012 at 03:53 PM
I wholeheartedly endorse a blight ordinanace . . . we do have bulk pickups, but people either aren't aware of that or can't be bothered to make the phone call required to schedule one. There's a house on Stonybrook in Gales Ferry that's had a whole pile of crap (mattress, desk, etc.) curbside for over a year . . . I don't know what the owners think is going to happen to it - it's been there this long already, so it isn't going to magically disappear. My husband and I alo live across the street from a family who has at least three "hobby" vehicles, two of which are in no condition to be registered and none of which are screened from public view. I think the ordinance is definitely worthwhile - I just wonder how the town will go about enforcing it.
paula widstrom September 27, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Finally!!!!! A real blight ordinance. Refreshing progress.
Doreen Wesche-Soldato September 27, 2012 at 05:07 PM
This is long overdue!
Sharon Pealer September 27, 2012 at 09:08 PM
It sounds like we already have laws and regulations in effect so why do we need more? Stepford here we come! Yes there are problems with properties here in town, but if we already have regulations in place to deal with them this is nothing more than a paper salve allowing people to complain about what they don't like. I was under the impression that the major push for this ordinance was to enable the town to make those who hold title to abandoned property responsible for keeping the condition of the property up.
Stacia September 28, 2012 at 12:07 AM
I second that. I see junk piles along roads for months as well. Although, come to think of it, I don't think any of the spots I'm thinking are there anymore. Center dr had one, col Ledyard between high school and center had one and spicer hill had one, between highschool and 214. I'll have to drive by and check them out. Thanks for the number though!!

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