OSWEGO, NY – At this week’s Administrative Services Committee meeting Councilor Eric VanBuren asked the councilors to consider changes regarding the High Grass and Noxious weed code.
He feels the height at which the grass must be cut should be lowered for a better scheduling process for city DPW crews.
“It’s gotten out of hand. I’d like to lower that to 6 inches. I don’t want to cause an issue where it is too low and we’re citing too many,” he explained.”Secondly, we have an issue with vacant lots in this city. Some are exempt, but they are right next to residential property. I’d like to see if there is some way the city attorney could direct us in adding language in the code to deal with vacant lots.”
The last item he brought up was city-maintained properties.
“Seems like we have an issue cutting our own grass,” he said.
“I’m on board with six inches. It needs to be addressed,” Councilor Mike Myers agreed. “We need to do something.”
“Corner of Route 104 and George Street, the old Niagara Mohawk – National Grid property; what can we do with that?” asked Councilor Shawn Walker. “I get earfuls about that all the time. That corner is hideous.”
“It is something we should start addressing,” VanBuren replied. “That’s definitely a problem.”
“You enter the city and what do you see? A corner that looks horrible with high grass, debris – there’s everything in there,” Walker said.
“I can make any changes to the code that you wish,” Gay Williams, city attorney, told the councilors.
However, the language has to be specific, she added.
“I have several in my ward,” Myers said. “First of all, if it’s a buildable lot, (the owner) should make sure it is all free of debris. It needs to be maintained, thinned out. He hasn’t got to cut down all the trees, but it has to look (good).”
Williams suggested the council set specific standards – how tall can the grass be, how thick can the trees be and so on.
“We’re not the first city that’s going through this discussion,” Council President Ron Kaplewicz noted. “Perhaps a discussion with New York State Conference of Mayors would be in order here. Maybe they can pull some codes from some other cities.”
That can be dome though the clerk’s office, Williams said.
“Then we can build on something,” Kaplewicz said.
DPW Commissioner Mike Smith said his department currently does city-maintained properties on an “as needed” basis.
Keeping up with the parks and other city properties has become “a substantial undertaking for us,” he added. “You’re talking in excess of 80 acres of mowing, that’s a challenge just to take care of at this point.”
Councilor Myers wondered if it would be worth it pay a small fee and have the service done by someone else and free up the DPW.
“If you have a funding source for it, yes,” the commissioner replied.
The committee took no formal action on the matter.
Discussion will continue as specific information is gathered.
City To Honor Former Alderman
Meanwhile, at the Physical Services Committee meeting, Councilor Mike Todd suggested naming the roadway between City Hall and Pathfinder Bank as John Canale Drive.
“John Canale has served this city his entire life. He is a World War II veteran and was just honored as Veteran of the Year. He has been a teacher in the Oswego City District for, I think, a little over 60 years. He still substitute teaches,” Todd told the committee. “I think it’s a nice thing to do to honor his years of service.”
A formal resolution to honor the former Republican city councilor will come to the floor of the next Common Council meeting.