.

Durham Officials Continue to Review Blight Ordinance

Proposed ordinance would preserve and protect property values, selectmen say.

 

Durham officials continue to review a proposed blight ordinance designed to protect homeowners from nearby neglected properties.

On Aug. 13, the town's selectmen discussed a draft of an ordinance recently adopted by the town of Portland which formalizes how complaints are handled.

See PDFs for Town of Portland blight ordinance and citation hearing procedure

"I think this is still a work in progress and I would anticipate at a future meeting when we're more comfortable with the language setting a time for a public hearing," said First Selectman Laura Francis.

Durham officials , when selectman Steve Levy said he'd received complaints by residents concerned about abandoned properties.

Levy said last week that he supported the purpose of the ordinance, which according to the proposal would "preserve and protect property values."

Francis said the town will be required to provide a form for residents to make formal complaints. Enforcement of the ordinance, she said, will also need to be determined.

The issue is expected to be on a future agenda of the Board of Selectmen. Check back with Patch for details.

DG August 21, 2012 at 11:19 AM
This ordinance is a great idea IF it is actually enforced. There is a property near where I live that has, for many years, had about a dozen vehicles in various states of disrepair and nothing has been done. And, the property owner continues to add more vehicles periodically. Hopefully, if this ordinance is adopted, the town will have people comply. What's the point in adding an ordinance when the town doesn't enforce some of the ones it already has?
Just my opinion August 21, 2012 at 01:39 PM
I feel each town should have an ordinance against blight that way they have the ability to correct situations such as above and that of which Deb mentioned. I agree with Deb if there is not going to be enforcement then don't bother. It is like bike helmet laws where you see police actually wave a children without helmets and drive by. so if it become a reality they need to enforce it not design it to correct 1 issue and then not use it.
Chris Flanagan August 21, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Chris Flanagan- The Durham P & Z has had informal discussion on this issue as well. Personally, I would like to see language that includes pests as contributing to blight. Vermin, cockroaches, etc. I also think it's about time to issue citations for violators, but the attorneys should figure that one out.
Melissa Greenbacker August 21, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Interesting. They questioned having a Right to Farm ordinance because of the enforcement issue. How is enforcement of a blight ordinance different than a Right to Farm one? At least the CT Commisioner of Ag can help with the farming one.
Chris Flanagan August 21, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Melissa- You're correct in pointing this out. We must be vigilant in who the "they" is, and what they want. Hopefully, it's what we want. Enforcement is always a challenge, obviously it should be fair, and treat people "the same", It implies that everyone doesn't get to do just what they want, at the expense of others. Regarding liability, well, life is a risk, it's always there, I don't see anything in either ordinance that would be too much to bear.
Brigid August 21, 2012 at 08:48 PM
The article specifically mentions abandoned properties, but there are many properties in Durham that are inhabited but look horrible. Friends of mine recently sold their house on Cherry Lane after nearly a year on the market. Several folks who came to the open houses mentioned the fact that as they turned the corner from Main Street onto Fowler Avenue the area was a true eyesore due to lack of maintenance by at least two property owners there. I live near that corner and recently put up a property fence so I would not have to look at all the crap strewn around my neighbor's yard. There are also numerous eyesores along Main Street and sadly, two of those properties are owned by the Town of Durham. If a light ordinance is passed will the Town of Durham comply with it on their own behalf?
Michael Hayes (Editor) August 21, 2012 at 09:00 PM
PDY The ordinance would be applicable to occupied homes as well, sorry if the article isn't clear about that. I'm not in a position to answer your second question.
Brigid August 22, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Thanks for the clarification, Michael. Obviously I should make the time to go the meetings in order to receive an answer to my second question.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »