Lakewood Updates Code Enforcement Law

LAKEWOOD – The Lakewood Village Board passed a resolution that could have its buildings looking better soon.

Local Law No. 3 provides Lakewood the means to administer and enforce the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code. It is essentially an update to the local law last passed in 2003. In addition to allowing for a broader enforcement of the code, it allows the village to contract services with other municipalities.

John Jablonski III, Lakewood trustee, wanted to know whether the local law could be made stronger, voicing his concern about the vacant buildings. David DiSalvo, Lakewood trustee, agreed, wanting to make the vacant buildings look better by using glazing and Plexiglas. He said the current state of the buildings discourages investment within the area which surrounds them. Citizens at the meeting spoke up expressing interest in enacting a more stringent criteria for which homeowners to adhere.

“I unfortunately have to drive down Ohio Avenue to get to my house,” said Lori Svenson, of East Terrace Avenue. “We’ve invested probably $80,000 into our home, and I’m pretty embarrassed to even have my family drive down the street to get to me. So, I’m very interested in what is going on with the church, what’s going on with any new zoning codes. … I want to know what is going to be done.”

Charlie Smith, Lakewood code enforcement officer, said it was certainly possible to strengthen the local law. He said, though, if they adopt something more stringent, they would need to follow through on the enforcement – not only on the village level, but the judicial level.

The board approved Local Law No. 3.

In other news, there was discussion over setting the date of the public hearing for the zoning law. Mayor David Wordelmann stated a desire to get the process started by holding a public hearing at the end of June, while Jablonski and DiSalvo wanted to push it back to mid-July, stating they believed what is going to be talked about was insufficient.

“I would recommend Mr. Mayor that we have the public hearing in July because I think there are some things that need to be discussed,” said Jablonski, stating having a public hearing this soon only to have changes later on would simply lead to yet another public hearing. Wordelmann didn’t see the issue of having another public hearing down the road, considering the village had been working on the zoning code for over a year.

“The zoning committee has worked diligently and very hard at it the last year and a half, and to put it off any longer – I’m not asking that we approve the new zoning law at the next meeting. I am asking that we start the process talking about it publicly,” Wordelmann said.

DiSalvo said the zoning law Wordelmann wants to have a public hearing on doesn’t have a site plan review. Wordelmann said the review will be separate and be done at a later time.

“Are we going to wait until you agree with it before putting it before the public? That’s wrong. All I’m asking is have a public hearing on this document. I don’t understand why that is such a problem,” Wordelmann argued.

“… You want us to have an open government. How can you have an open government without a public hearing?” Wordelmann continued.

The vote to have a public hearing on June 23 at 6:45 p.m. was voted down by DiSalvo and Jablonski. There was unanimous approval for a public hearing on July 14 at 6:45 p.m.

The planning committee was honored with the Community Transformation Grant Active Community Enhancement Award. This grant goes toward the planning for more complete streets and awarded $2,500 worth of time to work on streets of the village to make it them more pedestrian, bicyclist or handicapped-accessible. Fairmount Avenue and Summit Avenue have been named the top two safety concerns in regard to pedestrians and bicyclists for Lakewood.

A public hearing on two special-use permits for 6-foot fence applications for P. Scott Sawyer, 105 Winchester Road, and Lana K. Laniphier, 32 Martin Ave., was set for June 23 at 6:45 p.m.

Corbin S. Meleen was appointed as part-time police officer for the Lakewood-Busti Police Department to fill the vacant position created by the resignation of part-time police officer Emma A. Roosa, per the recommendation of Police Chief John R. Bentley. Meleen will be compensated at a rate of $16.49 per hour.

The board reviewed and approved the 2014 dock permit applications as submitted by Mark Ramsey, 8 Oakland Ave., for the Oakland Avenue right-of-way and John Johnson, 178 Front St., for the Woodlawn Avenue right-of-way. They also appointed the head lifeguard and staff for the 2014 summer season at Richard O. Hartley Park and beach, per the recommendation of Village Clerk Joseph Johnson.

Wordelmann was authorized to sign a Short Environmental Assessment Form relative to the proposed Panera Bread restaurant at 80 Mall Blvd. and for the village of Lakewood to act as the project’s lead agency as it pertains to the State Environmental Quality Review.