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Village begins apartment inspections

December 30, 2010
By CHRIS KNIGHT, Enterprise Senior Staff Writer

SARANAC LAKE - The village has begun mandated inspections of multi-family apartment buildings.

Village Community Development Director Jeremy Evans said Tuesday that Code Enforcement Officer Tom Worthington has completed inspections of about a half-dozen apartment buildings in the community.

"At this point we're doing two to three per week, just to see how long they're taking," he told the village Board of Trustees. "We have three years to try and get all of them in the entire village. We're trying to balance doing those with the assembly and business inspections that have to be done yearly."

Asked what the response from the landlords has been, Evans said it's been "pretty good."

"From what I've talked to Tom about, most issues have been relatively minor," he said. "It's going pretty well."

Worthington told the Enterprise Wednesday that he hasn't uncovered any significant violations, though the inspections are just getting started.

"There's been some minor electrical stuff that needed to be corrected, but otherwise everything seems to be fairly good," Worthington said. "Everybody seems to be willing to do what needs to be done to come into compliance."

Worthington said the village will be "ramping up to do a lot more inspections throughout the winter."

Village Mayor Clyde Rabideau, who owns a local contracting business, said he's talked with a couple of local builders who've said they "really appreciate and respect Mr. Worthington and his manner with people."

"It's been very positive," Rabideau said.

Earlier this year, Evans had proposed a more rigorous rental housing inspection program that would have applied to all non-owner-occupied single-family residences, duplexes, and multi-family homes and apartment houses. Owners would have been required to get a permit from the village and pay registration and per-unit inspection fees.

But the village scrapped the registration system and opted to only move forward with inspections of multi-family apartment buildings. The board also amended its building code administration law to accept "third-party" inspections of rental units in the village.

Village officials have estimated there are between 1,000 and 1,500 rental units in the village.



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