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Colonie inspections begin at Central Ave. motels

Colonie building inspectors completed a series of room-to-room walk-throughs last week at a string of Central Avenue motels, a process that began before county legislators passed a law urging them to do so Monday, Aug. 13.

Colonie building and fire inspectors, police and county health department officials toured the Skylane and Best Value Inn motels on Central Avenue. The two were among a list of four Central Avenue corridor motels County Legislator Christine Benedict, R-Colonie, called on to be cleaned up for deplorable living conditions.

County social services have used the motels to house families on welfare and post-release sex offenders.

Inspectors said many of the conditions cited in town documents in May acquired by Benedict no longer exist. They had been addressed over the summer.

Still, the inspections are far from over, said Colonie officials.

We are going to generate a list of violations we picked up that, in my opinion, were fairly minor. We will probably give them two weeks (to address them), said Michael Rosch, building department director. "They were fairly minor, still they're not the Marriott."

Most of the citations were along the lines of missing batteries in smoke detectors and windows painted shut. They were not like many Benedict had earlier pointed out, such as raw sewage, exposed wiring and rotting ceilings and roofs. Still, several rooms remained to be seen at the Skylane, and inspectors were returning to the Best Value Inn to see the other half of the 40 rooms they were unable to access.

The living conditions at the motels became the focus of a county legislative front to revamp the county's stance on housing welfare recipients and convicted sex offenders placed at the motels. After an attempt to relocate families and people living in the motels failed last Monday in the legislature, lawmakers opted to inform Colonie to crack down on motel owners and clean the sites up.

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