Issue 1-19-14 Website - page 4

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Stephen R. Barbeau
Supervisor, Town of LeRoy
A very busy start to the new year
and what better way with some
very deserved congratulations.
First, here’s to the Moose Club as
it celebrates its 100th anniversary
of significant and numerous
community benefit activities.
A belated but sincere thanks to
Judy Ridley, Genesee County
Humanitarian Award winner,
for all she does with our local
Food Pantry. And finally, thank
you very much for 33 years of
service to retiring Town Historian
Irene Walters. The Town Board
is exploring its avenues toward
filling the large shoes Irene leaves.
I also wanted to let you know
that Code Enforcement Officer
Jeff Steinbrenner has completed
his NYS training and that the
Town Board, through the budget
process, has extended Jeff ’s
hours. Much of this position’s
duties require work in the field
(away from the office), but we
wanted to maintain constituent
hours at the same level as last
year. Therefore, the additional
hours will allow Jeff more
time in the field completing
inspections and reviewing code
violations with residents. He
will be available to meet with
folks M-F from 2-6 pm (on days
when the Town Hall is normally
open) and Sat. am from 9-noon.
However, I urge you to call him at
768-6910 ext. 223 to schedule an
appointment to ensure he will be
in the office at the time you wish
to meet with him. Also, for non
-profits and service organizations
wanting to get the word out on
their important activities, please
make use of the community
calendar on the Town’s web site
by calling Laura Brodie at 768-
6910 ext. 228.
For my second installment on
Code/Zoning, I wish to focus
on the philosophy, or rationale,
behind having a “code”, and
I will use three examples of
areas both the town and village
have in their respective codes to
demonstrate this rationale. With
your permission, please imagine
being surrounded by residential
property where the owners have
ten dogs running among piles of
broken down appliances, cars,
and construction materials, and
with grass/weeds growing as
high as the dogs. Would you
be able to enjoy your property?
What would your property be
worth? Or, imagine not being
able to enjoy your pet outside
of your home, not being able
to place an old appliance out at
the curb for disposal pick-up, or
having to be a “slave” to your
lawn. Would that be too much
government intrusion? Both
of the above scenarios are the
extreme, but where is the line
drawn? It is difficult to legislate
good neighbors, especially
seeing as there are differing
perspectives as to what makes a
good neighbor. However, over
time, municipalities have tried to
set reasonable standards in order
to protect property values and
a certain “way of life” without
being too restrictive.
Both Town and Village Codes
have requirements for ownership
of dogs. In sum, all dogs in both
the Town and Village must be
licensed (with the Town Clerk),
controlled by the owner (on
owner’s property or by leash),
be cleaned up after when off
the owner’s property, and not
“engage in habitual loud howling,
barking, crying or whining, or
conduct itself in a manner so as
to unreasonably or habitually
disturb the comfort or repose of
any persons other than the owner
of such dog.” Again, the purpose
is to protect the health, safety,
and well-being of the community
while not being too restrictive.
In a similar manner, both
municipalities have a code that
covers the residential portion of
property for grass/weeds. The
Town recently passed a local law
to match the Village requirement:
“….(owners) shall keep the grass
and weeds on said property
cut and mowed to a height not
exceeding six inches.” In addition
to health and safety reasons for
this code, maintaining property
values is a very real goal here
as well.
While I will expand on this
in a future column on zoning,
generally speaking, communities
with higher property values have
lower tax rates and thrive much
more than communities with
lower property values and higher
tax rates.
Again, bothmunicipalities have
codes restricting abandoned cars,
junk appliances and furniture,
dump constructionmaterials, etc..
so as to maintain some controls
over property values as well as
health and safety precautions.
With these (and other) codes,
changing times (and societal
values), community interests,
and board personnel may seek
to revise such codes, either
becoming more restrictive or
loosening certain requirements.
The Planning Board would first
review such and they, with village
codes, or the Town Board, with
town codes, would hold public
hearings for community input
before making any revisions.
With each of the examples
cited above, the goal should
be to protect the health, safety,
and property values for the
municipality while still allowing
for the general freedom to enjoy
one’s own property. Thank you
and see you Around Town.
Town Supervisor Column
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