Colonie eyes tougher laws for properties

Colonie officials have scheduled a public hearing for Thursday, Oct. 25, on measures to give town law more teeth when it comes to keeping on top of unsafe or unsightly properties.

Chapter 62 of town law, as it is called, deals with unsafe buildings, equipment and sites. The law was tabled after other amendments were made to new zoning and codes put in place at the beginning of this year. Officials have since come back to the law in hopes of dealing with 43 commercial and residential properties in the town that have been identified by a new committee charged with cleaning the properties up.

Lately the town has toughened up on property owners who have not worked on bringing their properties up to snuff. While several properties have been in the cross hairs for years, including the corner of Albany Shaker and Wolf roads, others remain dormant and in various states of disrepair.

You kind of hope that the property owners would take some pride in their properties they own and for the sake of the community clean them up or sell them, said Supervisor Mary Brizzell, who sits on the six-member Vacant, Abandoned Fire Damaged Buildings Committee.

Since the committee formed 10 months ago, six sites have been taken off the list, Brizzell said. They were sold, refurbished or demolished.

However, some sites remain in limbo. They are either tied up in county foreclosure proceedings or the town has been unable to get in contact with owners.

As the law stands now, building department inspectors use best building practices to deem a property unsafe. If the property owner was reluctant to bring the property back up to code, he or she was issued an appearance ticket in Town Court, said Mike Rosch, building department director. Even then there isn't a lot of incentive for the owners to clean the properties up, he said.

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