Thursday, 01 August 2013 00:00
This is a copy of a letter sent to Village Clerk Dwight Kraemer and submitted to the Westbury Times for publication.
I write concerning a recurring problem in our Court with respect to Building Code cases. From the time that defendants are first charged until the disposition of their cases, hazardous conditions such as cellar occupancies continue to exist. This is a danger to the community on many levels which we have attempted to informally remedy by entering into stipulations or even verbal agreements with counsel and pro se litigants wherein evictions and re-inspections are promised on the record, with the Court mindful of Constitutional rights against self-incrimination, etc., suggesting that such matters will not be evidentiary in the event of a trial. I am suggesting that formal stipulations may be entered into at arraignment as a condition of bail. In addition, where hazardous conditions may exist, I am further suggesting that the Fire Marshall be notified.
I have several other suggestions that may be helpful. One is that I suggest that a notice go out to homeowners and realtors specifically stating which homes are zoned for single family occupancy and setting forth our Code’s definition of a single family. I suggest that this be translated into Spanish, French and Italian and that it also be included in our Building Department searches on behalf of title companies when homes are being sold or transferred.
Aside from rental permits being filed, it may be that the Village will want to inspect properties before they are rented and that leases should also be filed. I leave it to the Village to decide whether written leases should be required as a condition for the issuance of a rental permit and whether leasees should be required to show to the Village their legal status in this country. The number of people renting may be shown including whether there are children residing in the premises. The Westbury Water District, Sanitation
Department, Fire Department and School District should be notified of all rentals and may then report to the Building Department concerning extraordinary use which impacts on municipal services, property values and taxes. Leases filed and rental permits should set forth who is responsible for the maintenance of the property and whether homes are owner occupied. Notices should also be provided explaining to all homeowners and renters, the requirements for maintenance of property, both internally and externally. When they are not properly maintained, then greater enforcement or vigilance by the Building Department may be considered. Thank you.
Thomas F. Liotti