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Potsdam resumes villagewide code sweep

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POTSDAM — The village Code Enforcement Office soon will resume a survey of all village properties as winter ends and the weather warms.

The sweep began last year, with just under half of village properties examined to make sure they don’t have any chipping paint, missing windows or other code violations.

During that time, about 250 warning letters were sent out to property owners before the survey was stopped by snow and cold weather.

Village Code Enforcement Officer Gregory Thompson said the sweep should be done within a few months. Once every property has been surveyed, Mr. Thompson will return to those warned last year to see if the mandated improvements have been made.

The second half of the survey will focus on Market and Leroy streets and the surrounding area. Code compliance technician Ken Alberts will assist.

“We’re going to do it that way, with two of us, in the hope that we can wrap it up and then start visiting the sites from last year by the end of the summer,” Mr. Thompson said.

The ongoing attempt to clean up the village has been mostly successful so far, he said. “Not everybody has complied with it, but the majority of the notices that we sent out we’ve at least heard from the folks,” he said.

Mr. Thompson said the village is not pushing for immediate change. The warning letters are to let people know their properties are in need of repairs, but he understands these repairs cannot always happen right away.

“In this economic environment, it’s hard to ask someone to come up with a large sum of money immediately, and we’re ready to work with it,” he said. “We don’t expect them to fix it overnight.”

However, when he revisits properties that have been warned, he expects owners to have made an effort to address the problems.

Potsdam softened its tone last year after property owners were startled with letters threatening fines or even jail time for failing to bring their properties up to code.

The village encourages property owners who are unable to make the mandated changes to call the Code Enforcement Office so an agreement can be reached. Any questions or concerns can be brought to the office at 265-7678.

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