Residents of Massapequa Park who don't properly maintain their property could now face liens, fines and even imprisonment under a new law passed Monday night.
The new property maintenance code was approved unanimously by all members present at the Village Board meeting. Trustee Harry Jacobson was under the weather and unable to attend.
"People take great pride in this village and they take great pride in their property," Massapequa Park Mayor James Altadonna said to those in attendence, while eplaining the rationale behind the law. "There's a few landowners who don't feel the same way as the rest of us and we've really tried to work with them. In some cases, it's to no avail and in other cases, it's successful."
In order to get more teeth to go after landowners and banks that aren't maintaining property the village put together a law that includes stiff penalties for those who create eyesores.
Code enforcers will be on the lookout for lawns that grow higher than 10 inches, and when they do, the landowner will hear form the Village.
"We're going to send a letter, if there's no response after five days, we'll send them another letter." Altadonna said. "If there's no response in ten days, then we go in and do what we have to do."
For infractions other than lawn maintenance, the homeowner will be given 10 days to comply with the letter rather than five. But failure to comply will result in the village ordering the cleanup at the property owner's expense. A lien will be put on their tax bill to pay for the fixes.
The violator will also face up to $1,000 infines for a first offense or five days imprisonment. Those penalties can rise as high as a $10,000 fine or 15 days imprisonment if three violations are committed within a five year period.
A 13-page copy of the new law was made available to members of the public who attended the village board meeting.
"It's broad-based and it encompasses a lot and if you look at it, it may be a little scary," Altadonna said. "But you need diversity of the law in order to capture the nuances that you need."
The mayor acknowledged that there could be issues with residents who might face hardhips complying with the law.
"If we have problems here, if we have seniors or someone who has a problem," we want them to talk to us," he said. "We can work with anyone who wants to work with the village to upkeep their property."
The new law takes effect immediately.