By Michael P. Walsh
Special to the Voice
Mayor Nancy R. Rossi is reminding property owners to comply with the city’s blight regulations during the warmer months.
“We applaud the overwhelming majority of property owners who maintain their properties; however, to be fair to them, property owners who violate the ‘Blight Prevention’ ordinance under Chapter 129 of the West Haven Code are subject to fines,” Rossi said.
The ordinance, adopted by the City Council in 2012, gives the city more control when targeting properties in disrepair.
It defines property owners as “any person owning, leasing, occupying or having charge or possession of any private property in the City of West Haven to maintain such premises.”
The comprehensive ordinance defines blighted premises as any place that is “dilapidated,” a fire hazard, the site of illegal activity, threatens community safety, or has damaged or missing walls, roofs or floors.
It prohibits piles of trash, abandoned or inoperable boats or motor vehicles, overgrown grass and weeds, as well as other negative elements that cause the “serious depreciation of property values” or hinder the enjoyment of properties elsewhere.
Under the ordinance, grass, weeds or similar vegetation, excluding flowers, fruits and vegetables, may not “reach and remain at a height of eight inches or greater for a period of 10 days or longer.”
It also tackles graffiti and unkempt swimming pools.
Violations carry a $100 fine per offense per day.
The ordinance is enforced by the city’s property maintenance/zoning enforcement officers and police.
For the first offense, officials will issue a violation warning, with the second offense resulting in a citation.
If a citation goes unpaid, officials can put a lien on a property for any unpaid fine imposed by the city from the date it was levied, which can result in a foreclosure.
Citations issued are reported to the Fire, Building, Police, Public Works and Health departments and the zoning and corporation counsel’s offices.
To report a blight complaint, call the Building Department at 203-937-3590 and provide as many details about the complaint as possible. The department will respond in a timely manner. Complaints are kept confidential.