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Fort Plain OKs measure to stop ‘nuisance’ problems

December 13, 2012
By ARTHUR CLEVELAND , The Leader Herald

FORT PLAIN - Village officials have approved a law to help stop people who make a "nuisance" of themselves.

Fort Plain Police Chief Robert Thomas III said the main reason for the law - which establishes a "nuisance abatement program" - is the fact some homes are subject to repeat police visits, due to problems such as domestic issues or noise violations.

"This is about [repeat offenders] taxing village resources," Thomas said.

Officials are waiting for state approval to fully enact the law.

The law, which was adopted by the Village Board on Nov. 19, says "The Board of Trustees finds that the quality of life for many residents of the Village of Fort Plain is threatened by the deterioration of some properties as well as by certain activities and patterns of behaviors engaged in by individuals living in close proximity to their homes."

According to the law: "The village shall prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the violations have occurred."

Evidence of a violation includes citations and orders issued by the code enforcement officer, police reports, execution of search warrants and arrests or convictions under local, state or federal laws.

The law includes points for certain violations of penal law or village codes.

For example, violations of state penal law involving marijuana or controlled substances, loitering and disorderly conduct are valued at six points.

Once a certain amount of points are earned, Thomas or the enforcement officer in charge at the time would be required to notify the property's owner or occupant.

Those accused can request a hearing with the officer within 10 days of notification. If the charge is not handled in 30 days, it may go to the Town of Minden Court.

If a nuisance is confirmed, the offender can be required to vacate all or part of the building, close up the property for up to six months, suspend licenses or permits for up to six months if tied to the buildings, or pay a $1,000 fine.

Thomas also stated that if brought up, the problems could be fixed and a court date could be avoided.

Jail time and additional fees are also possible.

Thomas said that this law would prevent problems from "creeping in and staying in."

"Personally, I believe this is a law that should be in effect everywhere," Thomas said.

Thomas said that the new law is the first of its nature for the village and will go into effect as soon as state approval is given.

"We're waiting for them to send us back their notification," Thomas said.



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