Board passes ‘public safety, public health law’
The Granville Town Board approved a nuisance law Thursday night, a tool to help convince some residents to take care of issues on their own property that impacts neighbors, officials said.
“It’s a public health, public safety-type law,” Granville Supervisor Matt Hicks said.
“It’s just basically going through certain incidents, where we felt we don’t really have laws that address those things; at times we found we don’t have anything covering (particular complaints),” Hicks said.
No single complaint led to the law, instead a number of complaints over time, where the board was without sufficient authority to rectify a particular situation led Hicks to ask town attorney Mike Catalfimo to come up with a law allowing action without being too restrictive.
The board approved the measure after working for several months to arrive at a draft that both had teeth and was not too intrusive; examining drafts before finding a version they felt met their standards.
“We couldn’t do anything about certain things that were very obviously wrong before and now we can,” Hicks said.
“It’s about abatement. Let’s get (problems) taken care of, fix them and let’s get them dealt with,” Hicks said.
Hicks said he wanted to see an approach similar to what took place in the village with the renewed enforcement of the property maintenance law.
He said he hopes the law can be the force behind a simple request to fix and issue bothering a neighbor from excess garbage or animal waste to industrial waste or animal carcasses.
Enforcing the law, “the first line of defense” will be town ordinance officer Russ Bronson and dog control officer Ray Boyea.
During discussion prior to passing the law, board member Matt Rathbun noticed ‘tree trimmings’ in the list of potential nuisance items.
Rathbun questioned how it would be determined if such items were a nuisance worthy of action, versus one neighbor targeting another for harassment.
Hicks said the law was designed to give discretionary powers to the town’s ordinance officers as to the validity of the complaint. As an example he said a farmer spreading manure clearly falls under Granville’s Right To Farm Law, however if that same farmer suddenly decides to store large quantities at the property line of neighbor he’s having a disagreement with, that might be an issue, he said.
The law has been built with levels of appeal; residents who feel they have been somehow targeted by enforcement officials can appeal to the board, Hicks said. But if the board agrees, the law does contain penalties for failing to remedy the issue.
Hicks said he wanted to be clear this was not some kind of revenue generating scheme.
“We’re not actively going out to look for things, but if falls under this lawn then someone can stop over and say ‘Look you’ve really got to clean that up,’” Hicks said.