LYNDON — After receiving complaints about blighted properties, the town is taking action.
Letters have been mailed to seven property owners, asking them to clean up their mess.
The owners and their properties are as follows: Louis “Joe” Buzzi, 791 Main St.; Bonnie Cassady, 1393 Back Center Rd.; Gregory and Jelena Gervais, 15 Boston St.; Nancy Lang, 74 South St.; McDonald Family II LLC, 5 and 22 Zekes Lane.
The seventh property is 87 Shores Rd., which was seized for back taxes. Municipal workers have removed trees and mowed the lawn in anticipation of sealed bids.
At issue are run-down structures that negatively affect the surrounding community.
“All of these properties are vacant and in a state of decay,” said Town Administrator Justin Smith, adding the problems were “ongoing and not COVID-19 related.”
The letters were sent after resident Bill Walker urged town officials to enforce the Nuisance Structures-Dangerous Buildings Ordinance and address a “growing problem” of neglected properties.
Select Board members agreed but didn’t want to penalize landowners at the outset.
Erring on the side of caution, they chose to begin the process with a letter urging compliance, before applying the full weight of the blight ordinance.
“I don’t like jumping to fines,” said Select Board Chair Christian Thompson earlier this month.
The letters ask property owners to submit Letters of Intent, which would set a timeline for specific mitigation measures.
Those who fail to comply will be subject to a building safety inspection.
The inspection would be conducted by a building safety officer (Fire Chief, Assistant Fire Chief, Health Officer, Deputy Health Officer, or Zoning Administrator) with 72-hours notice.
If the building safety officer determines that a structure is either dangerous or a nuisance, the town would issue a Building Safety Order, which would require property owners to take certain actions within a specific timeline. Failure to comply with a Building Safety Order would result in fines up to $800 per day.
The Nuisance Structures-Dangerous Buildings Ordinance defines a dangerous building as “Any building or structure or part thereof that, for the lack of proper maintenance, repair, or sanitation, is hazardous to the health or safety of the public or likely to endanger other buildings or property,” and a nuisance structure as “Any building or part thereof that is in a state of dilapidation, deterioration, or decay, has faulty construction, or is open (unsecured), abandoned, or damaged by fire or other casualty to the extent that it is not habitable, or that is considered to be an attractive nuisance to children, wild or feral animals, and that detracts from the value, use, and enjoyment of neighboring or adjacent property.”