Oswego To Set Public Hearing On Code For Vacant Buildings

OSWEGO, NY – The Administrative Services Committee tweaked the proposed Vacant Buildings Code on Tuesday night.

The Quality of Life Committee presented the tentative new code to councilors recently for their review.

Councilors Tuesday night opted to include “at fair market value” in the section dealing with attempts to sell the building. And, they upped the level of the fine to $250.

The purpose of the new code is to give city officials some solid standards to enforce a local law to deal with this issue, explained Connie Cosemento, chair of the Quality of Life Committee.

Vacant properties aren’t paid for by the city, they’re paid for by the taxpayers, she said.

“So all of the services that are used, to mow the grass, to shovel snow, when need be to board things up, to send out notices, to inspect, to check – these are all paid for by the taxpayers,” she told the committee. “This isn’t a code that insists that we take properties down. This is a code that once instituted, would hopefully cut the cycle of why vacant properties happen to begin with.”

The proposed code “is fair for the property owner and for the city,” she said.

“When you have a piece of property that has a negative impact on the other properties in the neighborhood, you’ve crossed the line,” Council President Ron Kaplewicz said. “I think that we have an obligation as a city to make sure that the investment that people are making in their neighborhoods is good.”

Under the proposed code, a property that has been vacant for 30 days must be registered with the city and submit a plan as to what the owner plans to do with the property. It can be demolished, secured and maintained or returned to its appropriate occupancy or use by the owner (or sold to a new owner).

If the owner doesn’t abide by the requirements of the code, then fines start to kick in, Cosemento said.

If all the concerns are resolved following the hearing, the full council will vote on the proposal.