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Corinth eyes eyesores with ordinance

Journal Opinion of Bradford, Vermont

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CORINTH — The Corinth Selectboard has approved an ordinance that aims to allow town leaders to exercise more authority in cleaning up certain derelict properties in town.

Chris Groschner, Corinth Selectboard Chair, explained that the ordinance would not go into effect until 60 days after the adoption of the ordinance, which happened on April 16.

"The ordinance was adopted because we felt that we had several buildings in town that perhaps would fall under such an ordinance and we felt that we did not have any tools to address the possible problem," Groschner said. "It gives us a possible tool to inspect buildings that may fall under this ordinance and we felt that we were unable to deal with the possible problem. We have no authority. There is no zoning in the town of Corinth, so this is an attempt to get a handle on what could be a problem."

Groschner did not confirm whether the ordinance would target buildings like a foreclosed home on Cookeville Road that was destroyed hi a 2012 fire.

He acknowledged that the selectboard has received complaints in the past about specific properties in the town, but stated that he would rather not identify which ones as he was unsure whether or not those particular properties would fall under the town's new ordinance.

"We looked at several existing ordinances of other towns and we adapted from several ordinances," Groschner said. "We also have had this reviewed on several occasions by the town attorney."

Corinth residents have 44 days to petition for a vote on the ordinance, according to state statute.

Groschner declined to describe the ordinance, citing his desire for "clarity with these subjects."

The dilapidated building ordinance states that the purpose for the ordinance is to "establish measures to abate the public nuisances, health and safety hazards, and other harmful effects that arise from dilapidated or vacant buildings and structures..."

Under the rule, the selectmen would be empowered to appoint a building safety officer and deputy that would could inspect properties and issue orders requiring them to take certain actions such as clean up or repairs.

"I think that the ordinance speaks for itself...we tried to be quite careful m drafting it so I hope it can stand on its own," Groschner said.

Corinth Selectboard member, Steve Long, was also contacted, but declined to comment, referring all questions to Groschner. Neighboring Bradford adopted a similar ordinance in 2011. The hazardous building ordinance has not been formally enforced since then, according to administrative assistant Danielle Robinson.

Danielle Drown may be contacted at ddrown@jonews.com.



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Original Publication Date: May 6, 2015



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