“Compassionate” Nuisance Ordinance Advances to RTM

At the Aug 13 Selectmen meeting, the there was a second read of the updated town Nuisance ordinance and a vote.

Since the first read, which was presented July 9…

… there was only a slight tweak, in which the words, “or any public right of way or public park” were added.

There are several properties in town that are blighted, but fall outside the town’s existing ordinance.

For example, if someone boards up a structure, it does not violate the ordinance.

One structure in Byram was blighted for decades before it was finally razed.

Photo courtesy Michael Tierney

“This is very compassionate,” said First Selectman Fred Camillo of the six month period a property owner has to remedy a blighted property. “We’ve seen some of these properties laying fallow for, in some cases, decades. Everyone is held hostage.”

Camillo noted that because some neighbors of blighted properties have applied for and received tax abatements, blighted properties ultimately impact the entire town.

“Since we started, one family that owns three properties on South Water Street has already started to clean up the properties,” Camillo continued.

Half of one building is blighted on William Street. Aug 16, 2020

He said a blighted property which was half of a single building where the other half was owned by someone else, has recently been sold. “That will be taken care of,” Camillo said.

“I looks  like by discussing these things, focusing on it, and having articles in the papers – they’ve stepped up,” Camillo continued. “Hats off to those families that have done that. This has already started to pay dividends.”

Selectwoman Lauren Rabin asked how a resident might check the status of a complaint, so multiple people don’t make the same complaint.

“We don’t have a plethora of nuisance or abatement officers,” she said. “Do we want a committee of non Town employees to help with the process?

Town administrator Ben Branyan said the town would work to make that happen.

“We’ll involve all departments with jurisdiction, not just one or two, so nothing falls by the wayside,” Camillo added.

The board voted unanimously to approve the revised ordinance.

The RTM’s first read of the Nuisance ordinance will be on Sept 21. The second read would tentatively take place on Oct 26.

After: Blighted property on South Water Street has been cleaned up. Aug 16, 2020
Before: South Water Street along the Byram River. June 26, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

See also:

First Selectman to Target Blighted Properties in Byram

June 28, 2020

After Decades of Complaints, Blighted Byram House is Razed

November 19, 2019