Property maintenance violations reviewed

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Plainville-ct-seal

By LISA CAPOBIANCO

STAFF WRITER
On July 13, Plainville’s newly formed property maintenance ordinance went into effect. Since then, town staff has reported 200 violations of property maintenance through a recent survey.
During a Town Council meeting held last Monday, Technical Services Director John Bossi gave an update on town staff’s efforts in enforcing the new ordinance.
Bossi said over the past few weeks, a windshield survey of every street in town was completed, which identified and photographed 200 violations. These violations included 55 unregistered motor vehicles, 60 unsightly/tall grass and 83 blighted properties, said Bossi. Town staff conducted the activity using an Inspection Report Sheet, which recorded the date, inspector, property owner and violation.
On July 13, notices of the violations were sent to individuals with additional notices to follow. Efforts to resolve motor vehicle and unsightly issues would be addressed first.
“All of our citations were based on town staff’s visual observations,” said Bossi. “In the future as we get a handle on this, we will try to make contact whether knocking on the door…or trying to talk to them on the phone, but currently we just have too many [violations] to do that.”
Bossi said 15 owners or so to date have corrected or made attempts/arrangements to address the violations.
“It seems like we got a pretty good response,” said Bossi, adding people seem to understand what the ordinance was.
Recently approved unanimously by the Town Council, the property maintenance ordinance addresses a variety of issues, including blight, the removal of weeds, signs, awnings and marquees, solid waste, storage and littering, as well as inoperable motor vehicles, the height of grass and unsightly materials. The ordinance also combines two existing town ordinances, which address unregistered motor vehicles and unsightly materials.
Town Councilor Patrick Kilby said town staff has made great progress in just a short amount of time.
“It’s working in other towns around us,” said Kilby. “Within a year or two… you’re going to see the quality of life in Plainville go up.”
In addition, Lee and Bossi met with John Senese regarding the Chung property on New Britain Avenue, so the property owner could bring the site into compliance with the new ordinance.
Bossi said Senese will address those issues in a relatively short period of time.
“We showed him pictures of things we believe are in violation of the ordinance,” said Bossi. “He agreed at this meeting that he would be investigating that.”
During the meeting, Plainville resident John Kisluk commended staff for enforcing the new ordinance in relation to the Chung property, which he said was the reason behind residents’ request for a blight ordinance.
“It was the main reason every resident was pushing for a blight ordinance,” said Kisluk.
Meanwhile, the Town Council voted unanimously to appoint Attorney David Koskoff as a citation officer. A section of the property maintenance ordinance states that the Town Manager shall appoint and the Town Council shall confirm” a citation officer.
The Council also discussed considering an additional citation officer, which is a volunteer position.
Town Manager Robert Lee said Koskoff has lived in Plainville for many years, serving the community in a variety of ways, and is familiar with town government.
“I believe he will serve Plainville well in this position,” said Lee.