By Chadwick Dolgos
Stowe commissioners announced their intentions to crack down on ordinance violations around town during their monthly agenda meeting Aug. 9.
The announcement followed outrage expressed on a community Facebook page, where residents highlighted a pile of trash that has reportedly been accumulating in the alley behind 811 Lamont St. for some time.
“Until the town gets cleaned up, we are coming very hard,” said Commissioner Kelly Cropper-Hall. “So, if you’re a homeowner or a resident, it’s coming your way.”
Commissioners said public works crews have returned to the site multiple times to clear out mounting trash piles and are directing the foreman to return there with a backhoe to shovel out what remains. Having been unable to confront the property owner, whose permanent address is listed as Waveland, Fla., commissioners are preparing a citation that will request all related costs so far incurred.
“We want the cost of all the men involved, the cost for renting the backhoe, the cost of everything down to the gasoline and the dump added to the citation,” Cropper-Hall said.
Township officials are preparing separate citations for the tenants and the management company.
Following the incident, the township is reorganizing to more easily spot and cite future violations of a similar nature.
Ordinance Officer Harry Seretti’s previous daily routine began around Broadway Avenue before making his way all around the township through Island Heights, Preston, Norwood, Pittock and back to West Park.
Cropper-Hall met with Seretti prior to the board meeting and expressed that she felt Seretti’s current routine may be overwhelming, resulting in ordinance violations being overlooked. Seretti did not believe this was the root of the issue, but is willing to change his schedule and try new things in order to solve these ordinance and garbage issues.
“I’ve been doing the same routine for 3-4 years,” Seretti said. “I don’t miss a lot, to be honest with you...90% of my issues are in 5% of the town.”
Now, the township will instead be divided up into five separate sections, and Seretti will concentrate on a different section each day. While the details are still being ironed out, Seretti has a general idea of how he’s going to focus his energies.
“I think what I’m going to do is I’m going to start at 15th Street and cover four blocks, record everything that needs to be done, come back to the office, and cite what needs to be cited,” Seretti said. He will then cover four to five more blocks each day through Friday, issuing citations as needed.
The board will also be enforcing an ordinance amendment approved last year requiring Stowe home owners who “utilize the rear entrance as a primary entrance,” to visibly display their address at the rear entrance, in addition to the front entrance. The amendment was passed July 14, 2020, and went into effect Jan. 1, 2021.
“This is for Race Street, Dormont Street, Broadway and Russellwood,” Cropper-Hall said.
The amendment was added to streamline the citation process in cases where violations are observed by the code enforcer from the alleys to the year of homes.
“If I’m citing someone for grass, I’ll mention in the letter that they have to put their address on the back of the building,” Seretti said.
Cropper-Hall asked the community to call their commissioners as soon as they see a potential problem or ordinance violation, instead of waiting until issues escalate. Complainants may remain anonymous.
“Things happen when you contact a commissioner,” she said. “You don’t have to go on Facebook and smash us, like we’re not living through the whole nightmare that you all are with garbage and everything.”