Damaged house spurs Hartford board


Occupants of a deteriorating Adamsville house face legal action should they fail to clear up a number of issues with the structure and yard deemed a hazard by local officials.

The Hartford Town Board unanimously passed a resolution Aug. 9 declaring the residence at 3107 state Route 196 unsafe.

The resolution calls for the town to hire an engineer to inspect the structure and issue a report regarding its condition to the board.

Based on the engineer’s finding the town may order the structure repaired or possibly torn down, according to the local law.

Hartford Supervisor Dana Haff said he expected the engineer’s work to cost as much as $400, but added he thought it was necessary. “Let’s do this right in the beginning,” Haff said.

Hartford ordinance enforcement officer Mark Miller told the board he had inspected the premises and found violations of the local landfill law, the ‘junk car’ law and the repair or removal of unsafe buildings and structures law all of which require attention.

Excessive refuse piled up at the residence violates the landfill law and creates a potential health hazard, Miller said. The property also appeared to have at least a dozen unregistered and uninsured vehicles in a state of disrepair by his estimate, violating the ‘junk car’ law.

The house appeared to have a number of structural issues including tarps covering portions of the roof, brick facing pulling away from the building and a collapsing porch which was at least partially detached from the building, Miller said.

Haff said the goal of the move is to prompt the owner of a property to make right any unsafe condition that represents a risk to town residents.

“Our goal is to have the owner improve the house so that it’s no longer dilapidated or unsafe,” Haff said. 

The house appears to be occupied, but Miller said he has not been able to make contact with the residents.

Haff said it appears the residents have a certificate of occupancy from the county, adding he is skeptical how it was obtained.

“I don’t know how anybody who could look at (the house) with a straight face and say it’s fine,” Haff said.  

The 2005 town local law provides for the repair, securing or demolition of any structure deemed to be unsafe by code enforcement officials.

At the time the law was enacted individual towns in Washington County had their own code enforcement officers; enforcement of the New York State building code in now handled by Washington County.

Under the law, should the town board receive information regarding an unsafe structure, the board would pass a resolution calling for remedy of the unsafe condition by either repair, boarding up or demolition.

Failure to comply with the law could result in fines, jail time or having the town bill the resident should the town have to take action to render the structure compliant.     



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