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New code enforcement officer takes reins in busy Potsdam office

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POTSDAM — The village’s new code enforcement officer has had no time to lose getting to work, with a flurry of building permits issued at the end of summer, five homes recently condemned and a mass number of warnings issued for properties that have not been kept up to snuff.

Gregory Thompson was appointed Sept. 16, replacing Larry J. Colbert, who left the job after less than a year to go back into retirement. Mr. Thompson is the village’s fifth code enforcement officer in three years.

Mr. Thompson makes $43,349 a year. Village leaders said they hope he will end the revolving door in the code enforcement office. He told the village board Monday that despite the challenges, he hopes to stay in the office for a “long time to come.”

Mr. Thompson was hired in June to work part-time with Mr. Colbert. He helped with an ongoing villagewide sweep of properties to ensure they were up to code. Property owners were issued a warning letter if code violations were found. A “multitude” of these letters has been sent out, and the sweep is still in progress, Mr. Thompson said. The letters include a deadline by which the properties must be brought to code before the owners are fined.

Mr. Thompson will not be certified as a code enforcement officer until he finishes his state training in December. “It’s a rapid learning curve, but we’re hanging in there and everything is going well,” he said.

He has been balancing regular training sessions with running the office at a particularly busy time. And not all his work is about deficient housing.

The office recently issued building permits for the construction of the fourth of nine theme houses on Clarkson University’s campus for students in fraternities. On Main Street, the Chason Affinity company received permission to begin building the second phase of apartment buildings for SUNY Potsdam students. The company already has erected 24 apartments, and 26 more are scheduled for completion before next summer.

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