GLOVERSVILLE - The Common Council voted unanimously Tuesday to eliminate a mandatory $50-per- day fine for violators of the property maintenance code.
The fines for property-maintenance offenses previously were punishable by a minimum fine of $50 and no more than $250 a day, or possible imprisonment for up to 15 days.
The previous code also allowed each day of the violation to constitute a separate offense.
Gloversville resident Larry LaRowe talks to the city council Tuesday about a proposed moratorium on multi-unit dwellings.
The Leader-Herald/Levi Pascher
The decision to drop the mandatory $50 fine was made based on a recommendation from City Attorney Anthony Casale.
Casale wanted the city to eliminate the mandatory fine to give the city more options when negotiating cases. The new structure will give the city attorney and the City Court judge the right to allow property owners to fix their property problems without being forced to pay the mandatory fine of $50 per day.
The city, however, still has the option of fining property owners up to $250 per day for failure to comply with court demands to fix code violations.
Officials said the change will help with efforts to get property owners to comply with city codes.
"We want property owners to fix their houses," said Mayor Dayton King. "The previous fee didn't allow the court the option of granting conditional discharge."
The mayor said if the city asks a resident to paint his house and the resident complies, the resident won't be charged any fee, which previously was not an option.
A fine will be levied if the property owner doesn't comply with the demands of the court and city. The city still retains the ability to charge a maximum fee of $250 per day if the property owner fails to comply
The council Tuesday tabled a proposed nine-month moratorium on the construction of new multiple-unit dwellings within residentially zoned areas.
After consulting the city attorney, the council learned the city Planning Board has 30 days to take necessary action before the council can pass the law.
The council tabled the proposal until October.
The Planning Board will have the opportunity to recommend approval, denial or make other recommendations.
If the Planning Board takes no action before 30 days, the council can continue with the proposed law as planned, said Casale.
King previously said the city already has an overabundance of housing stock between two-family homes and already constructed housing units, so new housing is not need in residential areas.
The mayor stressed it isn't necessary to start construction of new housing in residential areas when existing buildings could be renovated.
"What we are looking to do is see these vacant buildings that are throughout the city being reused or restored before putting up new buildings, if it is possible," said King. "We want our city to be a safe place to work, visit and play."
While the law was tabled, the council still held a public hearing on the moratorium.
Larry LaRowe, of 12 Fifth Ave. in Gloversville, expressed concern about the moratorium not being in the best interest of the residents. He said the council should consider how the moratorium would harm or help Gloversville before making the final decision.
"Essentially, you are saying no more housing is desired or required within the confines of Gloversville," said LaRowe. "I hope one day to see the area return to greatness, but if you turn off the engine by saying we don't want growth, you will effectively push away new businesses to other areas of the country."
The law is proposed while the controversial Kinderhook Development project is under construction on the hill above Lee Avenue and Northern Terrace.
King said the proposed moratorium would have no effect on the Kinderhook project, but would prevent similar projects from getting started in residential areas.