OSWEGO, NY – The Port City’s Third Ward is home to a variety of owner occupied homes, rental properties and businesses.
However, it shares some problems with other wards as well, including out-of-town landlords.
Third Ward Councilor Mike Todd came prepared with more than six legal pad pages of notes. He pointed out many of those sites to the posse of city officials who joined him Monday for the more than one hour tour.
“I try to figure out how some of these places get rental permits every year. It kind of baffles me,” he told Oswego County Today. “I’ve got nearly seven full pages of houses that should never have a rental permit or should pass a code inspection.”
One property in his crosshairs is the former drug store next to Stone’s Candies on West Bridge Street.
The vacant building has windows out, gapping holes in the sides and other significant safety issues, he noted.
The councilor is urging the city to take a tougher stance with landlords and others who own ‘problem properties’ and have been slow to even begin correcting even the most grievous problems.
Ticket and fine them if they continue to drag their feet regarding compliance, he said.
“When this ward looks (as nice as) the Fifth and Seventh wards, then we can work with them a little bit,” he added.
According to the councilor, some landlords in the ward are occupying their rentals, without occupancy permits, for six or seven months.
The former drug store property is the subject of a demolition hearing slated for before the end of June, said Neal Smith, director of Code Enforcement.
It should have been razed weeks ago, the councilor said.
“There’s no future for this building,” Smith agreed. “It’s got to go.”
There are some rentals in the ward where the residents hold “huge, crazy, wild parties at all hours of the night,” Todd said. “The kids don’t care if the landlord gets points (against the property) or fined. They’re going to be moving out in a few months anyway.”
“You are never going to make them change their strips,” Smith said of some of the owners of the more dilapidated properties. “We’re doing our best to try and keep up with everything; but it seems once you get one fore put out here, another one pops up some place else. It’s a never-ending battle.”
The purpose of the ward walks is to identify problems before they become major issues and find ways of correcting them.
Smith said Monday he noted more than a dozen violations the property
owners will have to correct.