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Williamsport officials eye standards for property maintenance

Mayor: Town would work with owners on issues that surface regarding conditions of buildings

March 25, 2011|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com

Williamsport officials are considering adopting a set of standards that would determine how buildings in the town would be maintained.

The "international property maintenance codes" the town is considering would regulate such areas as the appearance of building facades, Mayor James G. McCleaf II said after a Williamsport Town Council meeting earlier this month.

Although McCleaf said there would be penalties for violations under the proposed codes, he stressed that town officials would work with property owners on issues that surface regarding conditions of buildings.

It will not be a situation where the town will all of the sudden "say do this, this and this," said McCleaf, noting that the proposed codes are part of an effort by officials to revitalize the downtown area.

Council members agreed March 14 to introduce the property maintenance code proposal. The council will have to vote again to implement the codes, but McCleaf said he did not know when that might occur.

Conditions of the town's buildings has been an ongoing issue.

Tammy Whitney, owner of Williamsport Barber Shop Downtown, was among a handful of business owners who talked recently about downtown issues.

Although Whitney said downtown Williamsport was improving, she was bothered by what she sees across the street.

"Pretty isn't it?" Whitney said, pointing to a building with boarded-up windows painted black.

Ed Kuczynski, Williamsport's town attorney, urged every member of the council and other town officials to read the proposed property maintenance code.

Being familiar with the code will be necessary for council members when one of their neighbors gets cited for violating one of the standards, Kuczynski said.

Then the neighbor will ask the town official the reasoning for the citation, Kuczynski said.

"It will happen," he said.

In a related matter, town council members are also considering a nuisance ordinance that would control issues like police being called repeatedly to a property for problems.

Penalties could also be levied under that proposal, which has not been introduced by council members, McCleaf said.

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