B y Dan King
Nuisance issues have been one of the top priorities for Mayor Peter Telisky and he has done everything within his power to crackdown on these problems.
“We’ve gotten very aggressive on these issues; we’re turning off water for ongoing water debts, we’re cutting overrun lawns.” Telisky said.
So far that power has been pretty limited, but that may soon change.
Telisky has been researching some stricter nuisance laws than the ones currently on record for Whitehall and has advised the village board members to review the laws he has found, in an attempt to begin creating a new, stricter nuisance law for Whitehall.
“Rather than reinvent the wheel, we look at these other places for how to stop community degradation.” Telisky said.
Some of the municipalities that Telisky looks to as examples for Whitehall to follow moving forward include Troy, Rome, Hudson Falls and Newburgh.
However, Telisky believes that the ideal law to follow would be that of the City of Glens Falls.
“This is not just a Whitehall problem, all these places deal with this,” Telisky said, “We have a nuisance law on the books, but this would encompass much more.”
Attorney Erika Sellar-Ryan agreed with Telisky, “The Glens Falls law is the one that I usually recommend.”
Telisky explained that the Glens Falls law, which he has researched rather extensively at this point, is based on a point system for repeat offenders.
“They classify it as habitual problems with drugs, domestic issues, property maintenance and a few other things.” Telisky said of Glens Falls’ nuisance law, “It specifically deals with people who habitually violate codes.”
City of Glens Falls law 146-2 lays out the point system, defining a public nuisance as when “12 or more points are accumulated within a period of six months, or 18 or more points within a period of 12 months.”
The Glens Falls point system makes instances involving drugs, loitering or disorderly conduct worthy of six points, while instances of housing standard issues, zoning issues, noisy animals and other similar problems garner four points.
The law lays out much more severe potential punishments than the current laws in Whitehall permit, including fines, imprisonment, closing of the building or vacating the building.
“With this new law, we won’t just be sending notices to absentee landlords who don’t think we’ll do anything about it,” Telisky added, “We are going to be able to shutdown some habitual violators.”
Currently all the village has been able to do is send out warning notices and threaten with fines. As they move forward Telisky hopes that these slaps on the wrist will be a thing of the past and that actual action will be taken to clean up the community.
As of right now, the village has not officially passed any new laws regarding this issue, but the board members will be reviewing Glens Falls’ law and discussing the potential of adopting a similar policy at the August board meeting.
B y Dan King