Mayor Rick Rector held a public hearing this afternoon on Local Law No. 4 for 2018, the law that will require owners of unoccupied buildings to register their buildings and pay an annual fee for keeping them in an unoccupied state. When Gossips arrived at City Hall, admittedly a few minutes late, Rector was declaring the public hearing closed. About fifteen people had shown up for the hearing, among them a few aldermen, Council president Tom DePietro, code enforcement officer Craig Haigh, and Roger Hannigan Gilson who writes The Other Hudson Valley, but apparently they had all come to hear what other people might have to say about the law because no one present made a single comment.
Had I arrived before the hearing was closed, I would have made a comment. As it was, I shared it with Rector after the hearing, and I share it now with readers. It has to do with the "vacant building plan" that an owner must submit to the code enforcement officer for approval when registering a vacant building.
The law states: "The plan, at a minimum, must contain information from one of the following three choices for the property." The first of those choices is a demolition plan, and the last is a rehabilitation plan. In my opinion, those options are presented in the wrong order. The City should be encouraging rehabilitation and discouraging demolition. For that reason, the choice now presented first--demolition--should be last, and the choice now presented last--rehabilitation--should be first.
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