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Public Hearings Set On Solid Waste and More

OSWEGO, NY – After a bit of “trash” talk Monday night, the council voted 6-0-1 (Councilor Mike Todd was excused) to set a public hearing regarding trash collection

The public is invited to weigh in on proposed amendments to the Code of the City of Oswego, Chapter 249, Vacant and Occupied Property Maintenance, Section 249-5, Preparation of Solid Waste for Collection and Section 249-6, Approved Collection Container. The hearing will be held Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall.

At the committee level last month, it was noted that the first change would be (Section 249-5 B): “the property owner shall be responsible for weekly removal of solid waste from the premises. Unless otherwise agreed upon by means of lease or rental agreement. In that event, the tenant or lease holder shall be responsible.”

Council President Ron Kaplewicz questioned why both the landlord and tenant aren’t responsible.

Following a few minutes of debate Monday night, the council agreed the amendment should read: “the property owner shall be responsible for weekly removal of solid waste from the premises.”

“My main issue is … the assignment of responsibility. I think that if we take it away from anyone other than the property owner we won’t be able to enforce this,” Councilor Eric VanBuren said. “I believe the law will hold up and be enforceable with either language. My concern is that nuisance abatement points will be easily knocked down in court if the responsibility is placed anywhere but the property owner as the points are assessed to the property. I think that is an important piece to consider as section “C” was developed for multiple offenders and would help us better leverage points by enforcing faster.”

First Ward Councilor Fran Enwright said there are several violations in his ward that this change would address.

“I think this puts responsibility where it belongs. And, what I feel right now is the landlord is responsible for the ‘business’ that he is running. It’s his business; he is the one that is making the money. I appreciate the support that we have on this. I know we’re working in the right direction.”

The councilors also authorized two other public hearings:

Proposed amendment to the Code of the City of Oswego, Chapter 165, Noise, Section 165-4(K), Parties and Other Social Events. It will be held at 7:05 p.m. Aug. 26 in the Council Chambers.

At last week’s committee meeting, Assistant City Attorney Tom Reynolds said the city almost lost a recent case, with regard to the Noise Ordinance, due to a typographical error in the ordinance.

The section in question defines “a person in charge of a party or other social event” to be “…the person or persons who own the premises involved and the adult person who lives in or on the premises involved in such party or social event.”

The accusatory instrument only identified an “adult person who lives in or on the premises” not the owner and the resident, he pointed out.

Although the common interpretation would be owner or person who lives in the premises, that is not what the ordinance says and the accusatory did not, naturally enough, include the owner, he said.

The judge “strongly suggested” a revision of the ordinance to change the word ‘and’ in this subparagraph to the word ‘or,” he told the committee.

Proposed amendment to the Code of the City of Oswego, Chapter 249, Vacant and Occupied Property Maintenance, Section 249-10.1, Emergency Conditions. It will be held at 7:10 p.m. Aug. 26 in the Council Chambers.

Councilor VanBuren proposed the revision of code 249-10 Emergency Conditions.

He would like to see the section read: “All premises shall be maintained properly such that it shall not be a threat to public safety. In the event that the Department of Code Enforcement identifies a structure or premises that imminently endangers the public health, safety or welfare, it shall take appropriate measures to render the condition safe pursuant to Section 249-11 of this chapter.”