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LAW SOUGHT TO SPEED PROPERTY CLEANUPS

A proposed law would enable Cheektowaga officials to clean up neglected properties more quickly and punish the property owners more severely.

The proposal could cut in half the time delay between the day town officials first become aware of a problem property and the day the property gets cleaned up, according to Thomas Adamczak, Cheektowaga's building inspector.

Like the current "obnoxious growth" law, the proposal covers grass, weeds and other growth more than 10 inches tall.

The way the system works now, once the building inspector becomes aware of a property that's overgrown, he gives written notice to the property owner to clean it up. The owner then has seven to 30 days to address the problem, depending on the situation.

If the owner does not clean up the property, the building inspector contacts the Town Board, which considers a resolution authorizing the town to clean up the property at the owner's expense. The process now takes up to six weeks.

The proposal would give property owners 10 days to clean up debris and growth. It also would eliminate the need for the board to pass a separate resolution for each property, Adamczak said.

"What we're doing is cutting out some of the time involved," to as little as two weeks, he said.

Each year, about 50 properties are cited by the town, Adamczak said. Most of them are vacant properties, bank foreclosures or properties soon to be foreclosed.

The administrative fee charged to property owners also would double, to $200. Beyond that, property owners would face a fine of $75 to $250, in addition to being charged the cost of the cleanup.

The board will hold a public hearing on the proposed law at 7 p.m. Oct. 1 in Town Hall, 3303 Broadway and Union Road.

e-mail: mpasciak@buffnews.com

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